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Cairo: A Cultural History (Cityscapes)
Cairo is a city of extremes. On its chaotic streets BMWs driven by businessmen in suits compete for space with donkey carts laden with farm produce. In its mosques the wealthy and destitute pray side by side. The largest metropolis in Africa since the Middle Ages, it was in Arab traveller Isn Battutah's words "the mother of cities." With a present-day...
Cairo is a city of extremes. On its chaotic streets BMWs driven by businessmen in suits compete for space with donkey carts laden with farm produce. In its mosques the wealthy and destitute pray side by side. The largest metropolis in Africa since the Middle Ages, it was in Arab traveller Isn Battutah's words "the mother of cities." With a present-day population of around eighteen million, this sprawling urban center is home to one thousand new migrants a day, drawn to the seething intensity of a modern, cosmopolitan capital that blends together the culture of the Middle East and Europe. The fabled city on the banks of the River Nile, once home to pharaohs and emperors, now forms a focal point of the Islamic faith and of the Arab world. Andrew Beattie, an established travel writer, explores the turbulent past and vibrant present of this city, where the enduring legacies of the ancient Egyptians, the early Coptic Church, British colonial rule, and the modernist zeal of the post-independce era have all left their marks. Some of the people through whose lives readers will come to know are writers (Mark Twain, Paul Theroux), conquerors (Alexander the Great and Napoleon), and revolutionaries (Lawrence of Arabia and Nasser). Buildings covered will include the pyramids at Giza and the mosques of Cairo, modern skyscrapers and suburbs, waelthy and impoverished.
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