Wilhelm Pelizaeus founded the German elderly home in Alexandria in 1899, and offered it as a grant to the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo. He did not realize, however, that he was offering a gift to the entire old city.
The face of old Alexandria is strongly visible in the inhabitants of the mansion and epitomized in its corners. It was a face of both beauty and disaster, a face where millions flowed from everywhere to the city, just like doves had fallen on its lime outlines, as the myth of the city’s foundation goes.
The old face of Alexandria, rich in beauty, cultural diversity and enlightenment, has recently been attacked by ignorance and fanaticism, and demolisher’s hands have reached its glorious architectural legacy. At the elderly home mansion, I ran into the memory of that aging, poignant face; it was present in its senile residents — remnants of the various foreign communities who had known no home other than Alexandria.
This piece documents all those aspects through a closer look at the daily life of the mansion’s residents: the sisters, as well as the elders, who sought refuge from a distressing memory and a changing world.Older