Lifestyle May 20, 2011 at 12:00 am

Spotlight on Cairo: The City of a Thousand Minarets

Sandra Appiah | Contributor, F2FA

Sandra Appiah May 20, 2011 at 12:00 am

May 20, 2011 at 12:00 am | Lifestyle

by Jocelyn Salala

Cairo, literally known as “the conqueror,” in French, is Egypt’s capital city. It is the largest city in Africa, and the sixteenth most populated metropolitan area in the world.

Cairo’s large population, coupled with its reputation for its outstanding Islamic architecture, has earned it the nickname, “The City of a Thousand Minarets.” This amazing city has long been a major center of the region’s political and cultural life.

To further illustrate the historic wonders of Cairo, it is the city in which Egypt, the only state in the region to build two opera houses within a century, chose to accomplish this feat.

The Khedivial Opera House, also known as the Royal Opera House, was the original opera house in Cairo. It was dedicated on Nov. 1, 1869, but was burned down on Oct. 28, 1971. After the original opera house was destroyed, Cairo was without an opera house for nearly two decades until the opening of the Cairo Opera House in 1988.

Cairo also hosts its annual International Film Festival. The festival serves as an examination of the state of world cinema today, and awards dozens of international superstars for their contributions to cinema.

Saad El-Din Wahba, Hussein Fahmy and Sherif El Shoubashy have been the presidents of the Festival since its establishment in 1976. This year, the festival reached a milestone of 35 years!

Egypt’s love of the arts can be traced back to the rich heritage bequeathed by the Pharaohs. In modern times, Egypt has enjoyed a strong cinematic tradition since the art of filmmaking was first developed early in the twentieth century. And cinema has rapidly evolved into a vast motion picture industry in Egypt. This has elevated the country’s status to worldwide fame: Cairo is now known to encompass the Hollywood of the Middle East.

Always a pioneer, Cairo was at the forefront of what has now been termed, the “Revolution of the Middle East.” The youth of Cairo, worn down by decades of rule by former President Mubarak, fought with vigor and determination to lead the nation into toppling one of the longest rulers in North Africa. The Cairo Revolution has spurred other countries in the North Africa, Middle East, and elsewhere to fight for freedom.

The city of Cairo is a historical, architectural, social and political Mecca and it will likely remain so for a very long time.


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