Saturday, March 12, 2016

Kodak Agfa Presents : A Quick look to Renovated Downtown Cairo

Last week , I was in Downtown Cairo and luckily I had my camera with me.
It was truly my lucky day as I passed by bunch of the old downtown 19th century and early 20th century-European style buildings being restored.
To read more about the Downtown Cairo renovation, please read this important feature by Salma Shukrallah in Ahram Online. That feature was published after the inauguration the
The officials working on Restoration of Khedival Cairo say that the original colors of the buildings are being used.
The restoration works are currently carried out by Arab Contractors Co.and other companies.
The government still owns the majority of the buildings in the area despite Misr Insurance Company owns over 90 buildings there and Al-Ismailia Investment company owns more than 20 buildings in the Downtown Cairo area.

Somehow, you may guess the owners of the renovated building from the final color of the building.
I passed by the Gharib Marcos building which looked amazing. The building built in early 20th century is currently owned by Al-Ismailia company.
Gharib Marcos building عمارة غريب مرقص
Al-Ismailia Company says in its official website that the building architecture was a mix of Neo-Baroque and Art deco.
So far it is one of the best renovations in the area. I have not seen it from inside.
Gharib Marcos building عمارة غريب مرقص
It looks Neo-Baroque Parisian more to me.
I saw the famous Gothic Davies Bryan building after its renovation. Some people do not like how it is painted but I believe it looks fine. Davies Bryan Building مبنى ديفيس براين
It is truly one of the jewels of Downtown Cairo with its distinguished style whether it is painted or not.
Davies Bryan Building مبنى ديفيس براين
That beautiful building made headlines during its restoration as Ismailia company used to cover it with a beautiful painting representing the building.
The building constructed in early 20th century and owned by Welsh businessman Davies Bryan used to host the YMCA in Cairo.
The Davis Bryan building in  Downtown Cairo last century 
"Thanks to @So2rate  and @EgyChampagne whom you must follow on twitter if you love old photos and documents from Egypt" 
Here is a famous building at Emad El-Din street that has not been restored yet. Surely, it needs a lot of renovation.
An old building at Emad El-Din street عمارة فى شارع عماد الدين
In the past , Emad El-Din street in Downtown Cairo was known for its theatres and nightclubs.
Now , its famous Parisian-style buildings including the building above and the restored building below were like landmarks with their domes.
I hope that is true because that pinkish color of that famous building in Emad El-Din street with gold paint is making me uncomfortable !!

I am praying that the restoration companies and officials pay attention to the little details and mistakes they commit during the restoration process itself.
It is not about fresh paint.
I am worried that the companies will paint for instance those amazing façade details as they have done previously in other buildings that were restored before.
Just look to the amazing paintings at the top of that building.
They do not such beautiful details in buildings any more unfortunately.

I also pray that the buildings are fully and truly restored.
One true look to some of the previously restored buildings in Tahrir square , you will find that the façade was only painted and the rest of the building is left in a very provoking way.
Those photos were taken quickly while I was in the car.


  1. Just as you say Zeinobia, its only the façades. But let me ask you and ask others this question? What is the style of the architecture on those new buildings in Dokki, Mohandessin, Haram, Heliopolis, Qobba, Helmeya...etc.? I am not knowledgeable in architectural styles, but I can discern main differences between several. I can't really classify these new buildings that replace the villas!

    Could someone please help on that?

    1. Heliopolis had its own Heliopolis style ,which is my favorite.
      Till the 1960s and mid-1970s , I would say modernism style was the common
      If you want to know more , I advise you to visit Cairo Observer site "" to know more about the architectural style of the buildings in Cairo

  2. The construction and design of the images given in this blog was really wonderful. Thanks for the architects who designed these kinds of buildings.
    with regards
    Architecture Colleges in Chennai


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