Scenes from Zamalek in Cairo

View of Zamalek

Zamalek is located on the 4 kilometer long and 1 kilometer wide Gezira island in the middle of Cairo.  On the map, The Gezira Palace (Marriott-Zamalek) is the pink building just south of the 15th of May Bridge.  It is across the street from the Gezira Sporting Club, aka The Nadi, similar to New York’s Central Park.  The Nadi is a featured venue in many Egyptian movies so is well known throughout the Arab world.

Fifteen of May Bridge over Nile River

View of 15th of May Bridge over the Nile, opposite of Zamalek.

Arriving at the Gezira Palace in Zamalek, the children again remarked about much smaller the lions were than they remembered.  And Ace thought they were gold, not marble.

Ace blending in with the Egyptian royalty to welcome Empress Eugenia

I wonder whether the Empress Eugenie of France felt the same way when she arrived in 1869. Her guest bedroom in the palace was designed to be identical to her own in Tulleries, France.  But with a full name of  María Eugenia Ignacia Augustina de Palafox-Portocarrero de Guzmán y Kirkpatrick I can only imagine despite the Khedive Ismail’s attempt to impress her, the Gezira Palace looked small compared to the renovated Tulleries Palace.

Les Tuileries before 1871 when it was burnt down.

This visit it was too cold to while away the hours sitting in the palace garden.  Instead, Mojo and I spent a little time walking around the shopping district.

Azza Fahmy Store showcasing her Pharonic collection

Black canna lilies

New Arabic Restaurant in Zamalek

Residence in Zamalek

Even in Zamalek the buildings’ exteriors suffer from neglect.

But people are still walking around, buying their bread from the street vendors and having coffee with their friends.

Coffee Shop Receipt Holder in Cairo


Riding the Lions in Zamalek

Susan’s First Visit to Cairo, Sitting in the Garden with her Nana

When we visit Mojo’s family in Cairo, we always stay at the Marriott on Zamalek island.

The Marriott was once the palace of Khedive Ismail.  It opened in 1869.

We like the hotel for its location and the garden.  During our stays, we usually eat every meal on the terrace.  It’s the place to meet and greet your friends.

At the entrance are two marble lions.  Susan and the boys always climb up on the lions when we enter the hotel.  And as it is in the Middle East, no one ever scolds them.

Susan riding the marble lion.

Last year as we walked in, Susan said, “I didn’t know the lions were so small.”

We are off to Cairo for a few days.  I will let you know -whoever you are – what she says this year.


Tales by Chapter

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