Gezira and the west bank of the Nile
The Nile flowing through Cairo splits itself along two large islands – Roda and Gezira (Gezirah; arab. "Island"). Gezira has almost 4 km long, and three bridges connect it with the rest of the city (6 October, Tahrir, Zamalek). Until the mid-19th century. it was almost uninhabited. Only Mohammod Ali built a palace and watchtower in the northern part. The Zamalik district slowly grew around the building (As-Zamalek) with a European character, with villas, apartment, offices and numerous embassies. The Polish embassy is located here. In later years, in the center of the kediv, Ismail built a great palace surrounded by a garden, where exotic trees and shrubs grew and African animals lived.
Today almost 1/3 the island's surface belongs to the Gezira sports club, founded by British Army officers on land donated by Kedyw Tawfiq. High membership fees limit access to the club's golf and tennis courses for ordinary Egyptians.
Cairo Observation Tower (Cairo Tower, Burg al-Qahira; at the time of collecting information for the guide under renovation) ma 187 m in height, and from its top there is a breathtaking panorama. The tower was built in 1957-1962 with the help of Soviet architects. The building is supported from the outside by a concrete structure, openwork lattice, and inside there is a strong reinforced concrete spine, in which the elevators are moving; the top is crowned with a stylized lotus flower.
Near the Tahrir Bridge rises the modern building of the Cairo Opera House, which was designed by the Japanese architect Koichiro Shikida. Completed in 1988 r. From the outside, it imitates Muslim buildings, the interior resembles opera chocolate boxes from the second half of the 19th century. Elements of ancient Egyptian art were also used.
To the right of the opera house is the Museum of Contemporary Art, which exhibits a collection of paintings, sculptures and prints by Egyptian artists from 1908 r. Today it gathers over 10 thousand. canvases and sculptures.
They are located on the old exhibition grounds: Gezira Museum (royal family collection), Egyptian Civilization Museum (history of the country from the time of the pharaohs to the present day) and the planetarium. At the time of collecting information for the guide, the facilities were closed for renovation. His greatest works have been collected at the Mukhtar Museum in the family home of the eminent Egyptian sculptor.
Zamalik district villas, mostly occupied by embassies and offices, are guarded by many policemen In one of the 19th-century villas near the Marriott Hotel there is the Museum of Islamic Ceramics. Many great ceramics from Syria are on display here, Turkey, Morocco, Iraq or Moorish Spain (od VIII do XX w.).