Art Travel in Zamalek, Cairo

Zamalek Art tour part 1

This weekend I visited Zamalek, which is on Gezira island in the Nile, at the heart of central Cairo.  It is an urban, upmarket district with many galleries and embassies, as well as restaurants, cafés and a wide variety of independent shops. Originally the site of royal gardens, a number of palaces and apartments were built from the 19th century onward. rFom the architecture, I’d say much of it is belle époque with a good variety of Egyptian Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings interspersed with postwar structures. Many old and well established trees overhang the streets, creating a feeling of calm once you leave the main roads. And around the island’s periphery you can walk the edge of the Nile corniche enjoying the magnificent views of the river.

It was my second visit to Zamalek, and the first one in the middle of the day. I found myself absolutely beguiled by the district’s beauty and the sense of comfort and ‘at home’ that I felt there. The streets and shops are interesting and while there is a real urban ‘buzz’ it is also calm and pleasant. However the purpose of my visit was the best part: I was doing the Zamalek Gallery Tour.

Fortunately, my guide was art dealer and curator Heba Moaz, who knows everything you need to know about art in Egypt and especially Zamalek.

We also visited the delightful café Granita, located within the grounds of the Anglican Church in Zamalek. I had a passion fruit granita and a salad niçoise. The décor and atmosphere of the café – with live piano and excellent service – is exactly to my taste and I look forward to returning to spend several hours.

I am going to discuss each gallery separately in my next posts, but here are a few highlights.

Galleries visited:

Picasso Gallery; Zamalek Gallery; Gallery Misr; Art Talk Gallery; Nile Gallery; Motion Gallery; Soma Gallery and Art School.