Cairo's own Manhattan, Zamalek is the island that keeps on giving. Here's why we can't get enough...
Ah Zamalek; that district of Cairo that's its own little island unto itself, both physically speaking, and really, in every sense of the word. They have their own magazine for god's sake. It's home to the Gezira Club, Pub 28's legendary sangrias, and almost as many foreigners as Maadi. But the pretentious little oasis' gems don't stop there. Here are 10 reasons why Zamalek is awesome...
Café de Paris
This is where we all, as a nation of young fresh tweens, learnt to smoke shisha. This is where it all began, all those blackened lungs, our current inability to make it up a flight of stairs without doubling over... Our country’s intense shisha culture starts at a young age. Café de Paris was our after school hangout spot where we learned to grow into the seasoned shishaholic adults we’ve all become.
The Barghouta; the most renowned spot in the Gezira Club for stoners. This is where we youngsters spent our formidable teenage years getting high. Now it’s less of a high haven; geriatrics dominate the area but you know that if you head there once the darkness sets in, there’ll always be a couple of hash happy humans lurking behind the fence.
Zamalek’s buildings are all just so much better looking than the buildings in the rest of the city. All the architecture makes you finally feel like you’re not staring at a city made out of concrete blocks. All the embassies look like ancient palaces, even the freaking schools are renovated villas that we’d rather love to have lived in. Also, JWT, we’ve seen your gorgeous new villa office, and we’re a little jealous.
IT’S ALIIIIVE. Zamalek’s got the coolest trees, all huge trunks and crazy twisting knotted branches, and most of them incredibly old. We just want to live in one. Or have it come alive and be our friend, a la Lord of the Rings.
Dar El Tarbeya
Ah Dar El Tarbeya, that shining beacon of education. And by shining beacon of education we mean the school that kindly accepted all the rejects from all the other schools across the city. Whether you had flunked out for three years in a row from your former school or you’d been expelled for attempted teacher kidnapping didn’t matter, Dar El Tarbeya welcomed all with open arms and did not discriminate.
The Fish Gardens
WE LOVE FOOD. As a nation it’s like our favourite thing, right after Sisi. And the Zamalek Fish Gardens with their winding pathways, and pretty greenery, are the perfect spot for a myriad of food festivals that take place there, where you just wander around and stuff your face. It’s great. And you can like, prance around in the sunshine, possibly high, and blow bubbles. Good stuff.
The Love Street
Share3 el 7ob. Where lovers retreat from the big bad world of no PDA and find great groping opportunities in the shelter of this empty, secluded street.
The Graffiti Wall Next to Hardee’s
The ever changing graffiti next to Hardee’s always keeps you on your toes! Whatever will they draw next? This time around it’s been covered up and turned into a public art project by the artsy kids at Fenoon Gameela. You never know what you’ll get when you drive by next!
Zamalek is the be all and end all of nightlife. No explanation necessary. It’s overflowing with bars and cafes and lounges and everything. From the dawn of time…who remembers White?
Art & Culture
When you look at this painting, do you see the inner struggle of the artist; the irony of life, the dichotomy between... No, we see blobs. But all the artsy people have loads of galleries to enjoy pretty things on walls and discuss how they make them feel.
Photography by Aly Bahr. Additional photography by Mahmoud Asfour.