Articles

Why Do People Loot?
The Case of the Egyptian Revolution

The antiquities trade is not a new one; in fact, it is an ancient business. A papyrus survives from the reign of Ramesses IX (ca. 1126–1108 BC) to tell us of a tomb robbery and the persecution of the robbers involved. Why, however, do people steal what is, in essence, theirs?

Tahrir Square
Evolution and Revolution

A walk through the history of a square that made history.

Bath Clogs, Murder and The Tree of Pearls
Al-Salih Ayyub’s Madrasa-Mausoleum

This is the second of four articles featuring monuments along Sharia Mu`izz li-Din Allah, the Qasaba or great artery of Fatimid Cairo. Its importance as a ceremonial way lasted for almost nine hundred years, and the variety of monuments still clustered along its length show that it was a favourite building site for those who held power.

Pleasure Seekers and Princely Palaces
Looking Back at Esbekieh

For over a thousand years, Esbekieh has witnessed people from all walks of life, from princes and nobility to diplomats, soldiers and prostitutes. It has been a melting pot of cultures, architecture and ideas, and is still worth exploring today.

Delta Blues
A Day at Pi-Ramesses and Tanis

When Ramesses II built his new capital of Pi-Ramesses in the northeast Delta, he filled it with luxurious palaces, temples and mansions. As the New Kingdom neared its end, and the local canal dried up, much of the stonework was transported northwards to the new capital city of Tanis. The modern visitor to Tanis will discover a random array of statues, disembodied stone limbs and royal tombs.

Tomb Sonata in Three Military Movements (and Overture)

Among the impressive array of works at the 12th International Cairo Biennale was one by Egyptian artist Khaled Hafez, a series of darkened rooms decorated with symbolic images, ending in a hyperreal burial chamber. We look at this most involving work of modern art.

Traditional Crafts
Struggling to Survive

Traditional Egyptian crafts are in danger of becoming extinct, though with support they could be a major source of revenue and pride for Egypt’s population. Can they be saved?

Coptic Art Revealed

An exhibition of Coptic art, presenting rarely seen objects to spread knowledge and learning about Coptic culture, enthralled audiences at the Amir Taz Palace in Cairo. We present the highlights right here, in case you missed it.

The All-Purpose Egyptian Calendar

My grandfather rarely used the Gregorian calendar. Egyptian months—each with its own story—made more sense to him, I guess. The Egyptian calendar was not just part of his heritage, it came with a full weather forecast, historical references, and cute, rhyming proverbs.

Eat Like an Egyptian

Although food is generally perishable, quite a bit of evidence has survived to show us what the ancient Egyptians ate. Not only do we have brightly coloured tombs and numerous texts, but also ancient examples of plant remains and food.

The Master of Diamonds and al-Hilmia Palace

Cairo’s Hilmia neighbourhood has been shaped by extravagant palaces and powerful personalities, which, although now long gone, still find their echo in the area’s modern street names. None, however, made as strong an impact as Abbas Pasha’s al-Hilmia Palace.

The Golden Age of Cairo’s Silver Screens

Cairo’s cinemas were once Art Deco masterpieces of architecture. Today, these same cinemas are mostly crumbling or already long demolished, but a few can still be enjoyed by those in search of a lost golden age.