Zamalek's tower
Zamalek's tower
Zamalek is a district of Cairo encompassing an island on the Nile. It is connected with the banks of the river by three bridges on the east and west side of the island. It has undergone several phases of growth affected by many economic and political currents that led to an overpopulation of the island and large reductions in its parks. With Zamalek Maadi and parts of Mohandessin, Heliopolis and Garden City are considered upper class Egyptian residential areas.
  Brief history
Under the Khedive Ismail, the island was called "Jardin des Plantes," because of its large collection of exotic plants shipped anywhere in the world. On the east bank, was built a summer home in the shape of U which is called the Gezira Palace, now a Marriott Hotel. It was designed by Julius Franz Pasha and decorated by Karl Von Diebitsch. The palace was built in 1869 and was used for the inauguration of the Suez Canal.

Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and Eugenie, Empress of the French nobles were among the guests of the palace. Other palaces were built as the palace of Prince Said Tuzun, who is now a branch of the Council of Ministers and the palace of Prince Amr Ibrahim, who is now the Museum of Ceramics. In 1882, the Gezira Sporting Club was built in the South Island region. Later, a garden fish called the "Grotto Garden" was introduced by Captain Stanley Flower. The garden contains a rare collection of African fish but probably lived better days.
The opera
The opera

In 2010, over 1.8 million people live on the island.

Zamalek is more correctly called Gezira (the "island"), although most people refer to him as Zamalek. There is a large island, about 4 km long and 1 km wide.

The southern half of the island is very green. The southern tip houses the super-chic Sofitel Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino, the Nadi al-Qahira Sporting Club, and the Museum of Sculpture Mahmoud Mokhtar. Just north by the Cairo Opera House Complex, near the Opera Metro Station. And Opera, this complex houses the Planetarium and the Museum of Modern Islamic Art, Sports Club Nadi al-Ahli Club teacher, Anglo-American Hospital and the Cairo Tower. The Gezira Sporting Club, Nadi al-Gezira covers much of the entire island. This exclusive club has been created by the British in the early 20th century and was famous for its horse racing and polo. Today it is still reserved for the elite Egyptian, who spends his free time playing golf and tennis.

View from twentieth floor
View from twentieth floor

The northern half of the island is the area which is properly called Zamalek. This is an upscale fashionable, westernized, residential, home to many embassies, hotels, restaurants, bars and shops.

At the west end the local cultural center al-Sawy can see regular concerts, exhibitions and workshops, and, unusual for Egypt, is a no smoking!

Although you can never really escape the smoke and noise of downtown Cairo, the streets of Zamalek are friendly enough for strolling, window shopping, and antiquing in the many antique dealers on the Island.

Island of Zamalek
Island of Zamalek