Saturday, March 12, 2011

Paris on the Nile

Paris on the Nile

Cairo (Arabic: القاهرة transliteration: Al-Qāhirah), which means "The Vanquisher" or "The Triumphant", is the capital city of Egypt. It is the largest city in Egypt and Africa's most populous city. The origin of Al-Qahirah is said to come from the appearance of the planet Mars during the foundation of the City of Cairo. Cairo is the sixteenth most populous metropolitan area in the world. It is also the most populous metropolitan area in Africa.
Cairo was founded by the Fatimid caliphs as a royal enclosure, and replaced Fustat as the seat of the government. It later came under the Mamluks, ruled by the Ottomans 1517 to 1798, briefly occupied by Napoleon. Muhammad Ali of Egypt made Cairo the capital of his independent empire from 1805 to 1882, after which the British took control of it until Egypt attained independence in 1922.
Today, Greater Cairo encompasses various historic towns and modern districts into one of the most populous cities in the world. It is an amazing city full of life and movement, and it is that way almost 24 hours every day, with the noisy honking of horns, children playing in the streets and merchants selling their wears and services. And here, the Egyptians are most at home in this powerful, modern and ancient city.
 A journey through Cairo is a virtual time travel: from the Pyramids, Saladin's Citadel, the Virgin Mary's Tree, the Sphinx, and Heliopolis, to Al-Azhar, the Mosque of Amr ibn al-A'as, Saqqara, the Hanging Church, and the Cairo Tower. It is the Capital of Egypt, and indeed its history is intertwined with that of the country. Today, Cairo's official name is Al-Qahira (Cairo), although the name informally used by most Egyptians "Masr" (Egyptian Arabic name for Egypt), from the original name of Egypt's first Arab capital Fustat, Misr al-Fustat, "City of the Tents."

Cairo, Egypt Life
Cairo, Egypt is a great city for its lifestyle. When you need a break from the city life, try a round of golf on the famous Mena House course overlooking the Pyramids, watch the horse racing at the Gezira Club or visit the Cairo Zoo and the Botanical Gardens. Take a trip on the Nile in a felucca or ride on horseback from the Giza Pyramids to Saqqara. For a day trip outside the city visit Haraniyya village and see the beautiful tapestries and weaving produced by local people. If you wish, you may get away from it all at the top of the Cairo Tower, a modern 187 meter-high tower with views of the city from all sides, topped by a revolving restaurant.
Cairo, Egypt comes alive at night, which is the best time to shop, eat delicious Middle Eastern cuisine, or simply watch the world goes by from a pavement cafe. You can dine in a floating restaurant on the Nile or see oriental dancers and cabarets at a luxury hotel. The splendid Cairo Opera House complex houses several galleries (including the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo), restaurants and concert halls. Listening to Arabic music under the stars, in the open-air theater, is a magical experience. At El-Ghuriya, in the heart of Islamic Cairo, one can watch folk musicians and whirling dervish dancers. And don't forget the most essential after-dark experience, the Sound and Light show at the Pyramids, a dramatic fusion of light and music recounting the story of Egypt.
Cairo has everything.  It has great hotels, entertainment, restaurants, all manner of monuments from throughout the history of Egypt and it is often the entry point for most people visiting Egypt. It even has bowling allies and several golf courses to choose from.

Paris on the Nile

The fascinations of this city are many. It was a city built originally on the faith of Islam, but it grew into so much more. It became a city where slaves ruled an empire, sometimes a battleground where first the French and then the British attempted to weld their colonial aspirations, and even a retreat for colorful officers from the American Confederate Army. It was the birth place of modern tourism where names such as Thomas Cook sprang up like the grand hotels of the Europe's Victorian elite. It did become the Paris along the Nile, and today continues to be a focal point as one of the world's great cities.

Not so long ago, both Europeans and Americans came to glamorous Cairo to escape their dreary northern cities, and a new book by Cynthia Myntti portrays the way that they built up Egypt in the style of Paris, later adding their own flair. The book, named Paris along the Nile, is almost an informal guide to the older city where electric trams once needled three lined boulevards linking splendid mansions, hotels, arcades, brightly lit theaters and pleasant parks. She tells us of a time when the silky cotton of Egypt and the money that it generated brought merchants, speculators, artisans, adventures and even landless, Italian peasants to a city where the corner grocer was Greek, the mechanic Italian, the confectioner Austrian, the pharmacist English, the Hotelier Swiss and the department store owner Jewish.
This is not the Cairo of today, but the headiest day’s parties and social magic, and many of the buildings and houses built during this period remain.

Cairo has long been the hub of education and educational services not only for Egypt but also for the whole Arab world. Today, it is the center for many government offices governing the Egyptian educational system, has the largest number of educational schools, and higher learning institutes among other cities and governorates of Egypt
Universities in Cairo
• Al-Azhar University in Cairo
• Ain Shams University
• The American University in Cairo (AUC)
• The Russian University in Cairo
• Arab Academy for Science & Technology and Maritime Transport
• Al Azhar University - One of the oldest universities in use today
• British University in Egypt (BUE)
• Canadian International College (CIC)
• Cairo University
• German University in Cairo (GUC)
• Helwan University
• Misr International University (MIU)
• Misr University for Science and Technology (MUST)
• Nile University
• Sekem University
• Modern Sciences and Arts University (MSA)
• Modern Academy In Maadi (MAM)

By Heba Hossam



Paris Along the Nile: Architecture in Cairo from the Belle Epoque 

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