Cairo is a 1,400-year old metropolis whose streets are inscribed with sagas, a place where the pressures of life test people’s equanimity to the limit. Virtually surrounded by desert, sixteen million Cairenes cling to the Nile and each other, proximities that color and shape lives. Packed with incident and anecdote, Cairo: City of Sand describes the city’s given circumstances and people’s attitudes of response. Apart from a brisk historical overview, this book focuses on the present moment of one of the world’s most illustrious and irreducible cities. Cairo steps inside the interactions between Cairenes, examining the roles of family, tradition, and bureaucracy in everyday life. The book explores Cairo’s relationship with its ‘others,’ from the French and British occupations to modern influences like tourism and consumerism. Cairo also discusses characteristic styles of communication, and linguistic memes, including slang, grandiloquence, curses, and jokes. Cairo exists by virtue of these interactions, synergies of necessity, creativity, and the presence or absence of power. Cairo, City of Sand reveals a peerless urban balancing act, and transmits the city’s overriding message: the breadth of the human capacity for loss, astonishment, and delight.
City of Sand
For sale only in the Middle East
Alexandria has had a checkered history since its foundation by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C. From its glorious days as the intellectual center of the Hellenistic and early Christian world, it declined into a near-forgotten backwater with a population of only a few thousand at the time of the French invasion of 1798. Renewed prosperity and commercial growth came in the nineteenth century under Muhammad ‘Ali. Today it is Egypt’s second city and the favorite summer resort of millions of Egyptians.
In this guide to one of the world’s great cities, Michael Haag explores Alexandria’s past and present in word and picture, from the ancient Pharos to the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina, from Anfushi to Montazah. He directs our curiosity not only toward the ancient monuments of the city and its fine Greco-Roman Museum and new National Museum, but also to the ambience of a more modern era, that cosmopolitan Alexandria alive with the literary echoes of Cavafy, Forster, and Durrell. Beautifully illustrated with 125 color photographs, this is a fascinating armchair tour of the pageant that is Alexandria....read more
1 June 2004
125 photographs, 4 maps
Egyptian Customs and Festivals
How do Egyptian Muslims celebrate Ramadan? How do Copts—Egyptian Christians—celebrate Easter? What should you expect to find on the table when invited to eat in an Egyptian home? What do you say when an Egyptian colleague sneezes? Exactly what do Egyptians do with a mortar and pestle, a sieve, and a bag of nuts seven days after the birth of a baby? Samia Abdennour, once an outsider from Palestine, now thoroughly at home in Egypt, is here to tell you all about these matters—and many more. In a book that aims to introduce the unfamiliar newcomer or interested foreign reader to the hows, whats, and whys of Egyptians life, the author covers such diverse topics as birth, marriage, and death; religious festivals and fasting; food in the home and on the street; business etiquette and terms of politeness. She describes how some traditions differ between the two religious communities, the Muslims and the Copts, and how some customs are shared by all Egyptians—like the spring festival of Shamm al-Nisim (‘smelling the breezes’) that goes back to pharaonic times. With Egyptian Customs and Festivals, you need never be at a loss in a social situation in Egypt—or fail to understand what your neighbors are up to. Illustrated throughout with color photographs of daily life and special occasions, this fascinating and informative book is a must-have for anyone new to Egyptian culture....read more
1 April 2007
20 color illus.
Yesterday and Today
Lithographs and diaries by David Roberts, R.A. Text by Fabio Bourbon Photographs by Antonio Attini
Yesterday and TodayLithographs and diaries byDavid Roberts, R.A.
Text byFabio Bourbon
Photographs byAntonio Attini
David Roberts, one of the most skilled landscape artists of his time, set out for Egypt in 1838, where he made countless sketches of the most remarkable sites and monuments during the course of his eleven-month journey through Egypt, Sinai, and the Levant. Superb lithographs made from his work, first published between 1846 and 1848, are richly reproduced here in resplendent color, along with Roberts’s diary accounts of his travels along the Nile Valley from Alexandria to the fabulous Abu Simbel temples. Each illustration is accompanied by a photograph showing the same view more than 150 years later. Fabio Bourbon’s lucid essay introduces anew this nineteenth-century fine artist and contextualizes his images for the modern reader....read more
1 February 2011
252 color illus.
Egypt and the Nile
Through Writers’ Eyes
Edited by Deborah Manley Sahar Abdel-Hakim
Through Writers’ EyesEdited by Deborah Manley
No land on earth has been so comprehensively observed as Egypt, which was attracting awestruck travelers back in the days of Herodotus and Julius Caesar. This rich and varied collection brings the diversity and the continuity of Egypt together to give a picture of this country, its many places, its long history, and its people: the pharoahs, sultans, pilgrims to Sinai, Crusaders, and Napoleon, followed by the Grand Tourists of the eighteenth century and those less grand with Thomas Cook in the nineteenth. The range of voices gathered here is dazzling: an ancient myth from a papyrus next to Naguib Mahfouz’s account of Alexandria, Florence Nightingale describing Abu Simbel side by side with Ahdaf Soueif’s description of Sinai. A description of medieval Cairo by Ibn Jubayr walks hand in hand with one of the modern city by the Egyptian thinker Taha Hussein. Lucie Duff-Gordon sails up the Nile, Edward Lane crawls through a sand-filled temple, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel struggles up the cataract above Aswan....read more