A Field Guide to the Street Names of Central Cairo

Humphrey Davies
Lesley Lababidi

The map of a city is a palimpsest of its history. In Cairo, people, places, events, and even dates have lent their names to streets, squares, and brid

English edition
1 July 2018
252 pp.
12.5X20cm
ISBN 9789774168567
For sale worldwide

24.95

The map of a city is a palimpsest of its history. In Cairo, people, places, events, and even dates have lent their names to streets, squares, and bridges, only for those names often to be replaced, and then replaced again, and even again, as the city and the country imagine and reimagine their past. The resident, wandering boulevards and cul-de-sacs, finds signs; the reader, perusing novels and histories, finds references. Who were ʿAbd el-Khaleq Sarwat Basha or Yusef el-Gindi that they should have streets named after them? Who was Nubar Basha and why did his street move from the north of the city to its center in 1933? Why do older maps show two squares called Bab el-Luq, while modern maps show none? Focusing on the part of the city created in the wake of Khedive Ismail’s command, given in 1867, to create a “Paris on the Nile” on the muddy lands between medieval Cairo and the river, A Field Guide to the Street Names of Cairo lists more than five hundred current and three hundred former appellations. Current street names are listed in alphabetical order, with an explanation of what each commemorates and when it was first recorded, followed by the same for its predecessors. An index allows the reader to trace streets whose names have disappeared or that have never achieved more than popular status. This is a book that will satisfy the curiosity of all, be they citizens, long-term residents, or visitors, who are fascinated by this most multi-layered of cities and wish to understand it better.

Humphrey Davies

Humphrey Davies is the translator of a number of Arabic novels, including The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany (AUC Press, 2004). He has twice been awarded the Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation.

Lesley Lababidi

Lesley Lababidi is the author of Cairo Practical Guide (AUC Press, 2011, 17th ed.), Cairo’s Street Stories: Exploring the City’s Statues, Squares, Bridges, Gardens, and Sidewalk Cafés (AUC Press, 2008), Cairo: The Family Guide (AUC Press, 4th ed., 2010), and Silent No More: Special Needs People in Egypt (AUC Press, 2005). An active and well-traveled blogger, she currently lives between Cairo, Beirut, and Lagos. To visit the author's blog, click here.
Humphrey Davies and Lesley Lababidi gave a talk on November 6 at Cairo's American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) for the book launch of A Field Guide to the Street Names of Central Cairo. To listen to excerpts, click here.
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