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Egypt: The Andalusian Garden in Cairo


The Andalusian Garden In Cairo

by Lara Iskander

View of Saad Zaghloul Statue with the Opera House in the Background

View of Saad Zaghloul Statue with the Opera House in the Background



A view of Qasr Al-Nil Bridge

A view of Qasr Al-Nil Bridge

Cairo is a densely populated city, with green spaces few and far between. However, many parks have survived the urban sprawl and bigger attention is constantly given to preserving Cairo's green spaces and increasing them.


A view of the Cairo Tower

A view of the Cairo Tower


The Nile from Andalus Park

The Nile from Andalus Park

One of the districts known for its vast green spaces is the island of Zamalek. The southern part of Zamalek is where the greenery is most preserved; this is partially due to the fact that there are three sporting clubs located there.


The Pedestrian Walkway along the Nile

The Pedestrian Walkway along the Nile


The Andalusian Garden

The Andalusian Garden


The Pharaonic Section of the park

The Andalusian Garden, or 'Hadikat Al-Andalus', is located in Gezira between Qasr al-Nil Bridge and Sixth October Bridge. This is a wonderful little park located in the southern part of Zamalek Island, just minutes away from the downtown area.


Zamalek is best approached across the Qasr el-Nil (Tahrir) Bridge from Midan Tahrir, which brings you to Gezira Square. In the proximity of the park lies many interesting and famous landmarks of the capital. Al-Gezira Square (Midan al-Gezira) is dominated by a statue of Sa'ad Zaghlul, nationalist leader of the 1930s, founder of the Waqf party and the first prime minister of the independent monarchy.


View of the Garden Terraces; Right

View of the Garden Terraces


One of the many pharaonic replicas in the Gardens

One of the many pharaonic replicas in the Gardens


A view of the Andalusian section overlooking the Nile

Directly behind the Statue and facing the square is the entrance to the Cultural Centre building, located within the Cairo Opera House grounds which was inaugurated in 1988. However the Cultural Centre is a late addition to the complex where many art exhibitions take place. Nearby, the 187 meter Cairo Tower is easily spotted; the landmark of the island was built between 1956 till 1961 and is 43 meters higher than the Pyramid of Giza. On a clear day, one can enjoy an amazing panoramic view of the city from the top of the concrete lotus blossom of the Cairo Tower.


The Andalus Garden was established in 1929 by Zulfugar Pasha as a present to his wife. This garden covers an area of 8,400 square metres.

A view of the Andalusian section overlooking the Nile c.ose up

The park itself is very pleasant with well kept greenery, walkways, benches from where one can quietly observe the Nile and crossing-by feluccas. A quite walk along the Nile banks while admiring the scenery of lush gardens and beautiful landscapes certainly separates one from the noise and hassle of the city traffic.


On the other side of the Bridge, there is a riverside caf/restaurant where one could rest and have a quick bite after a tour in the garden and site seeing in the area. Casino El-Nil is quite an old establishment that has a very good view of the river and famous for being a weekly hangout for Noble Prize Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz.


Walkway though a Pavilion with a Statue of Ahmed Shawky

Walkway though a Pavilion with a Statue of Ahmed Shawky


The Ahmed Shawky Statue Overlooks the Gardens

The Ahmed Shawky Statue Overlooks the Gardens


Terraces leading down from the pavilion

The park is laid out in a Moorish and Arabic style and is considered a favorite destination for the inhabitants of Cairo. The park is divided in three sections. The first section is mainly composed of narrow passages with different trees and plantation surrounding them and several replicas of ancient Egyptian statues. There are two round terraces at the edge of the park where you can enjoy refreshments apart from several well hidden sitting areas in covered green sheds. Palm trees tower the garden giving an admirable feeling of seclusion from the surrounding streets while at the same time, well defining the paved passageways.

One of the many gardesn


The second part which is designed in an Andalusian style is on a higher level and is more of a symmetrical nature than the previous section. A central fountain dominates the area with a statue of Ahmed Shawky located in an arched royal hall at the highest point overlooking the garden and a central fountain. Ahmed Shawky is an Egyptian artist known as the ' the poet of Arabism and Islam'. He was born is 1868 and lived up till the year 1932.

Shawky pioneered the modern Arabic Literary movement and he is also known to have produced distinctive poetry widely considered to be the most prominent of the 20th century Arabic literary movement.His home in Giza, which he bought in 1914, provided a meeting space for musicians, singers, statesmen, and literary writers. The site became the Ahmed Shawky Museum in 1977.

Many young folk think that the park is a romantic place to sit

All steps and benches are decorated with fine and colorful mosaic. At the far end of the park and opposite the statue is the main entrance which looks on to the Gezira Square. The third part is named 'Al-Fardus' and it has an arabesque design and architecture. From this section one can get the best views of the Nile and the skyline of downtown area. This is a favorite hide-away place for young Cairenes.

On the right of the park is a pedestrian promenade along the banks of the Nile which gives it a nice continuity.

The garden is currently administrated by the Department of Special Gardens, Cairo Governorate. Entrance fee is two pounds. Opening hours in summer are from 9am to 2am and in winter, from 9am till 10pm.

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