Language: ع E

In contrast to the “modern” districts constructed in the Maghreb under colonial rule which were exclusively for the French officials, Ismaelia was conceived as a cosmopolitan mixed use district. The Khedive’s model was the Paris of the 1830’s where he studied as part of the second mission sent by Mohamed Ali. This mission included among other future famous personalities Ali Pasha Mubarak, who wrote about Ismaelia in his famous “Khitat” describing the different quarters of the city.

Ismaelia’s major marterials and side streets were laid out according to straight alignments mostly intersecting at right angles. Its houses were detached from each other; its thoroughfares were paved and had sidewalks for pedestrians on both sides while the middle was for the passage of carriages and animals.

Pipes were laid out to supply water for sprinkling its lands and its gardens. Gas and lights were set up to illuminate it. It became one of the most beautiful districts of Cairo and it was inhabitated by the princes and the notables among the Muslims and others.

This inclusive cosmopolitan character is one of the distinctive features of Khedivial Cairo and one of its most appealing characteristics. It should be safe guarded and reinforced by the revitalization process. Many older Egyptians look back with nostalgia to a time when Khedivial Cairo was not only the seat of governance and the financial centre of Egypt. It was also the location of elite institutions, prestigious social organizations, world class shopping, hospitality, services, entertainment, high end spacious apartments and the headquarter offices of national and international companies. Its many landmark buildings still reverberate with their links to historical and political events, cultural manifestations and the leading personalities who lived and worked there and regularly patronized its clubs and cafes.