The Neo-Renaissance style fortress was built in the second half of the 1900s by the last governor (vali) of Egypt and Sudan, Abbas Hilmi II Pasha. The tower was connected with a steam-driven elevator; its interior surfaces are decorated with well-crafted metal, marble and porcelain insertions. Abbas Hilmi II Pasha was governor from 1892 to 1914, marrying Hungarian-originated Countess Marianna Török de Szendrő (later called Javidan Hatun) in 1910. The Hungarian writer, pianist and painter, who was born in Philadelphia, divorced from him in 1913, after which she lived in Austria where she died in 1968. She wrote about her experiences in her biographical book Life in the Harem.