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1869: Thomas Cook embarked on his first trip to Egypt, spotting endless opportunities.
1879: The Sultan of Turkey decreed that the Khedive of Egypt should leave his country in the hands of his son Mehemet Tewfi K Pasha. On June 30, a long luggage train laden with pictures and cabinets, dinner services and rare carpets, bronze and silver candelabra, plates of solid gold and inlaid with jewels, left Cairo for Alexandria. The treasures were shipped on board the gorgeous steam yacht Mahroussé, bound for Italy, where the despot lived happily until his end (see similar happenings—> 1952).
1880: In Cairo, The Egyptian Gazette, a daily newspaper, was founded.

1880s: Egypt was becoming a fashionable and chic winter resort for European travellers. The climate near the Great Pyramid in Giza, outside Cairo, was obviously better than in town. During the winter there were no muddy roads (due to occasional rain), no dust in the air and no traffic.
This peaceful environment was the right place for a young couple to settle in front of the Great Pyramid.
1883: Lord Cromer became the British Agent in Egypt. Meanwhile,  Frederick and Jessie Head, a couple on their honeymoon, acquired a former Khedival hunting lodge near the Great Pyramid. They enlarged the house and added a second floor. Jessie Head started teaching children from the nearby villages English. The English couple Locke-Kings bought the house from the Heads and decided to construct a hotel next to it. They built a magnificent oriental palace facing the Pyramids, complete with Arab mashrabia windows, brass embossed doors, blue tiles and mosaics of coloured marbles and mother-of-pearl. The great dining hall was an exact replica of a Cairo mosque.
1886: ‘Mena Hotel’, as it was called, opened.

1887: The first guests arrived by coach from Cairo, and soon word spread that there was a new hotel right next to the Great Pyramid. All this boded well, hand in hand with the growing appeal of Cairo itself as a destination. The Opera House announced 80 performances for the coming season, and impresario Rey even presented the great actress Sarah Bernhardt (right). She certainly visited the Mena House on her excursion to the Pyramids.
That same year, the Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor opened. At Shepheard’s Hotel a new lawn tennis court was the talk of the town.

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