Egypt: Heliopolis’s historic “Merryland Park” in danger

The historic Merryland Park, the largest park in Heliopolis district, ​is currently in great danger, with a plan to completely destroy a large part of it and cut down a large number of its 100-year old tall and shady trees.

Merryland Park is located on an area of ​​50 feddans (acres) and dates back to 1949 during the reign of King Farouk. At the time, the Merryland Park was incepted under the name “Horse Racing Club”.

In 1952, the club was transferred to the Al Shams Club area, where it was called the Equestrian Club.

In 1958, Merryland was given its current name. At the time it housed casinos and a roller-skating rink.

In 1980, an arboretum was established, and later the Alex Company built three cafeterias to serve visitors. A lake for ducks and a mini-zoo were also built. Operating hours were from 8am to 5pm because the park had no proper lighting system.

The Sinbad Tourist Company won the management and operating rights to Merryland in 1997 and turned the park into a leisure venue by building international restaurants, an amusement park, a pool for a show of dolphins and seals and vast gardens.

The Merryland Park included many tall and shady trees, and contained a lake with small boats sailing in it. In 1963, a casino was added to the park.

Then, a plant nursery was established to help further plant the garden and sell plants to the public, turning it into an international tourist and entertainment site, with various international trade mark restaurants added.

There was the garden and a make-belief football pitch for boys that was big enough for games of hide-and-seek thanks to the trees that could have stood there for a hundred years at least.

Many people used the park for their daily exercise, walking or jogging around it or enjoying the refreshing breeze coming through its greenery.

Merryland was the perfect afternoon retreat after a day at work, and it was the venue for many a lavish lunch. Overlooking the garden and shaded by tall trees, the main restaurant’s signature dish was the escalope panée.

Many people named Merryland the “Land of Happiness” because once they stepped inside it they forgot the outside world.

The name, however, was not always Merryland as the park was originally set up as the Horse Racing Club during the time of former king Farouk, as mentioned above.

The first phase of the park development included 25 feddans with green areas, pergolas, walkways, toilets, walking tracks and waterfalls.

The Historic Park in Danger

The Merryland Park is currently in great danger, as there is a plan to completely destroy a large part of it and cut down a large number of its trees that are more than 100 years old.

The so-called development plan is intended to destroy the roller skating area, with the aim of making a memorial, and converting another part into a mall and food court area, after destroying the arboretum that used to be there.

This disaster must be stopped, especially with pressure from the residents of Heliopolis district, to urge authorities to stop this destruction of the Merryland Park and the entire district.

Merryland Park is one of the most beautiful historical places in Heliopolis. We should not allow the destruction of Egyptian history and heritage, the outcome of the efforts of predecessors in order to create and perpetuate these beautiful things that some are trying to eliminate in only one day!