When Napoleon conquered Egypt in 1799, he overthrew the last of the sultans who had ruled the country for centuries. When his army withdrew in 1801, Mohammed Ali, a ruthless and yet forward-looking soldier of fortune from the Balkans, seized power. Despite nominally representing the Ottoman Empire they ruled independently and so created modern Egypt. They brought unheard of prosperity, that was not only marked in their cultivation of the land, and building of railways cities and the Suez Canal, but also in the new found wealth of the Egyptian people who built opulent palaces and country estates. Added to this splendid grand hotels to accommodate Western tourists were built, and these buildings remain a testament to Egypt's modern golden age. Lavishly illustrated with 170 colour photographs taken specially for this book, "Egyptian Palaces and Villas" will fascinate and delight anyone interested in the Middle East and its history.