Egypt

Archtrove travels to Cairo – pyramids and pharaohs

Architecture in Cairo

Cairo, a congested city of millions of people crushing the city’s infrastructure under their weight and lifting its spirit up with their charm and humour. This sprawling capital, set on the Nile is the heart of Egypt, hence Egyptians call it Umm ad-Dunya – the Mother of the World. Within one taxi ride, you can pass stupendous mosques, grand avenues, and 19th-century palaces, with a far-away view of the pyramids of Giza.

Within the congested city are souks, markets selling everything and anything. At every turn sellers bartering through thier makeshift shops with an overflow of items.

At its heart is Tahrir Square and the vast Egyptian Museum, a trove of antiquities including mummies and King Tutankhamun artefacts. Nearby, Giza is the site of the iconic pyramids and Great Sphinx, dating to the 26th century BC. In Gezira Island’s leafy Zamalek district, 187m Cairo Tower affords panoramic city views.

History of Cairo

Cairo starts with the Fatimid architecture, developed in the Fatimid Caliphate combining elements of eastern and western architecture, it bridged early Islamic styles and the medieval architecture of the Mamluks of Egypt, introducing many innovations.

The heartland of architectural activity and expression during Fatimid rule was at al-Qahira, the old city of Cairo, on the eastern side of the Nile, where many of the palaces, mosques and other buildings were built.

 The Fatimid Caliphs competed with the rulers of the Abbasid and Byzantine empires and indulged in luxurious palace building. Notable extant examples of Fatimid architecture include the Great Mosque of Mahdiya, and the Al-Azhar Mosque, Al-Hakim Mosque, Juyushi and Lulua of Cairo.

City Walls of Cairo

A new city wall was built around Cairo on expanded beyond the original city walls, and the city faced threats from the east, notably by the Turkoman Atsiz ibn Uvaq, commander of the Seljuk army. In fact, the fortifications were never put to the test. Three of the gates in the new walls have survived: Bab al-Nasr, Bab al-Futuh and Bab Zuweila.

 

Gallery

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Blog Posts

Architecture in Cairo

  • Al-Azhar Mosque
  • Cairo Museum
  • Pyramids of Giza
  • Great Sphinx

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