Cairo: A Cultural History

Cairo: A Cultural History

by Andrew Beattie
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The city of Cairo has long been recognized as the epicenter of Egyptian culture. Today, Cairo's influence goes well beyond Egypt, as evidenced by the city's role as a trailblazer in Arab sociopolitical and cultural developments. The author of several travel books (e.g., Syria), Beattie here offers a highly readable cultural history of Cairo. Although several travel books on Cairo are available for Western audiences, this engaging book is something else, ranking as one of the best and most intellectually stimulating studies of the city. Readers will feel that they are walking through Cairo's myriad neighborhoods and surveying its cultural landmarks. Likewise, Cairo's heterogeneity and its many religious faiths come alive in these pages. Complementing similar books, such as Andr Raymond's Cairo: City of History and Max Rodenbeck's Cairo: The City Victorious, this book is highly recommended for all public libraries.-Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195178937
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/01/2004
Series:
Cityscapes Series
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 5.70(h) x 1.00(d)

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Meet the Author

Andrew Beattie has traveled widely in the Arab and Islamic worlds, from Morocco to Borneo, and has written for Rough Guides and the Independent on Sunday.

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