Language: ع E

Downtown CAIRO

Popular Culture

The importance of Downtown Cairo to modern Egyptian society is evident in the number of films and books that have been based in the district. Throughout the 20th century and continuing today, Egyptian filmmakers and writers have honored this dynamic neighborhood, sharing its stories both historic and fictionalized with the world.

Downtown Cairo plays a central theme in many books by Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt’s most famed modern novelist. Events and themes of life in Downtown are present works such as Palace Walk and The Coffeehouse.

Lucette Lagnado’s “The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit”: My Family’s Exodus from Cairo to the New World is a poignant memoir detailing the many changes witnessed by Downtown Cairo following President Nasser’s rise to power and their effects on a Jewish family. More consequences of Nasser’s influence on Downtown Cairo are explored in Waguih Ghali’s 1964 novel, Beer in the Snooker Club.

Perhaps the most famous example of both literature and film to be based in Downtown Cairo in recent years is The Yacoubian Building, the 2002 novel by Alaa Al Aswany adapted to the silver screen by Marwan Hamed and starring Adel Imam, Nour El Sherif, and Hend Sabri.

The district’s role as a home to Egypt’s expansive bureaucracy since the days of Nasser’s presidency is explored in the 1992 comedy, Al Irhab wal Kabab (Terrorism and Kebab), starring Adel Imam, which takes place entirely inside Midan Tahrir's adjacent Mogama’a.