Garden City, Cairo

Picture of a street in Garden City

Garden City (Egyptian Arabic: جاردن سيتى Garden Siti  pronounced [ˈɡɑɾden ˈsiti]) is a wealthy, residential district in Central Cairo that spans the East side of the Nile and just south of downtown, the location of the famous Midan Tahrir (Tahrir Square). Two main streets, Qasr al-Ayni Street on the East and Nile Corniche on the west, delineate the eastern and western borders. Garden City is known for its quiet, upscale, secure atmosphere and as a major destination for wealthy, Western tourists as the U.S., British, and Italian Embassies are all located here.[1] Despite the great political, technological, and industrial changes that occurred in Egypt, Garden City managed to keep its trendy, European feel.


Garden City, in addition to Zamalek, Maadi, Mohandessin, and Heliopolis, is one of the wealthy, residential districts in Greater Cairo. Garden City is a marked difference in the development of other neighborhoods and districts in Cairo.[2] Garden City was planned by private investors as opposed to the natural development of cities characterized by the random and often unexplainable migration of people. Its landscape, street layout, architecture, and general atmosphere can be explained by both the nature of its founders and Khedive Ismail's attempts to Europeanize Cairo. Garden City was a city strictly planned by private investors wishing to escape the period of national construction that took place until 1952.[2] Its quiet, windy, tree-lined streets, beautiful gardens, and elegant, ornamental palaces coupled with the proximity to the American and British embassies make it an attractive place for affluent Cairenes and tourists.[1] Furthermore, the geography and landscape more closely resemble a lofty, European village. In line with the European feel of the district, Italian architect Beyerly designed the palace.[3] Garden City was modeled after an English garden suburb meant to radiate tranquility and security.[4] Its winding, leafy streets often intersect with each other multiple times and graceful palaces and lofty mansions line the streets next to modern banks and other professional buildings.[5] From the 1880s to the early 1900s, Egyptians from the older neighborhoods flocked to the trendier, up-and-coming parts of the city including Garden City and [6] during the British occupation of Egypt.[6] After 1952, there was a movement in direct response to the period of nationalist construction that took place throughout Egypt.[2] Its European architecture, windy roads, palm-tree lined streets, and proximity to downtown [2] were contributing factors for a perfect location for the professional elite, like doctors and lawyers, desiring a peaceful lifestyle that differed from many other parts of Cairo where they could still be in the scene (bordering downtown Cairo, Tahrir Square) but live more luxuriously.[2]

Role in the Arab Spring

For the most part, the low-key atmosphere of Garden City and collection of wealthy residents meant that Garden City was not politically active during the Egyptian Revolution. In fact, throughout the majority of political and technological upheaval throughout Cairo, Garden City managed to maintain its chic, first class appearance.On September 11, 2012, Egyptian protesters, in retaliation of the video ridiculing Muhammad, stormed the U.S. embassy and staged revolts.[7] However, in anticipation of the anniversary of 9/11, most employees had already gone home and so very few were actually inside the building at the time.[7] This security breach highlights the lack of immediately responsive military forces in Garden City, an area known for its peace and quiet. Furthermore, despite the relative low-key atmosphere, there were reports of thug violence in March 2013. Garden City residents reported that bullies set up blockades on certain streets at night, stopping cars and demanding money.[6] If the car’s inhabitants did not pay the 50 Egyptian pounds, the bullies would damage the cars.[6] This also is a huge downfall in the tranquil reputation of Garden City and its paradise-esque rows of windy, tree-lined streets.


See also


  1. 1 2 Haag, Michael. Egypt. Cairo: American University in Cairo, 2010. Print.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Jayyusi, Salma Khadra., Renata Holod, Attilio Petruccioli, and André Raymond. The City in the Islamic World. Leiden: Brill, 2008. Print.
  3. Serageldin, Samia. "The Real Cairo House." The Real Cairo House. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.
  4. Maxwell, Virginia. Egypt. Footscray, Vic.: Lonely Planet, 2006. Print
  5. Raymond, André, and Willard Wood. "The Dream of Westernization, The Nightmares of Growth." Cairo: City of History. Cairo, Egypt: American University in Cairo, 2001. N. pag. Print.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Behery, Shaimaa. "Security Turns Into Far-Fetched Dream for Egyptians." Xinhua News, 15 Mar. 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2013. <>.
  7. 1 2 Birnbaum, Michael. "Protesters Attack U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Consulate in Libya." The Washington Post, 11 Sept. 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.

External links

Coordinates: 30°02′07″N 31°13′52″E / 30.03528°N 31.23111°E / 30.03528; 31.23111

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