Maadi Travel Guide

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Maadi retains the ancient name of the town that once stood on much the same site as today's district, and which has now turned out to be a significant Predynastic archaeological site. However, building activity in the area has destroyed some archaeologically sensitive places.

The town traces its modern history to 1904 when the railway between Cairo and Helwan was built. This in combination with land speculation by the Mosseri cousins gave rise to a new town. Construction was originally limited to the area right near the railway, but eventually spread down to the river Nile. Also, a large army camp was built east of the railway.

The town planning was done in 1905 by a retired Canadian officer Captain Alexander J. Adams. His vision led to the wide boulevards and large villas still seen in Maadi today. There were very strict rules associated with residential development in Maadi with regards to the size of houses, how much of the property could be occupied by the house and how much had to be left for the garden, and the size of the sidewalks. Even window shutters had prescribed colours.

During the period between 1940 and 1946, Maadi had an important role in the Military history of New Zealand during World War II; around 76,000 members of the First Echelon, 2 NZEF (Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force) main body trained at a camp near Maadi at the base of the desert slopes of Wadi Degla and Tel al-Maadi. During that time this area belonged to the Delta Land Company which created Maadi in 1907. The rocky plateau was leased to the New Zealand Forces, and for the next six years became New Zealand's main overseas base.

[edit] Currently

There are many flats in Maadi, most in lowrise buildings. There are several highrises along the Corniche by the river, as well as in the newer, eastern part of Maadi, known as Degla.

The Maadi Grand Mall

Streets are laid out in a mostly grid pattern; however, there are several boulevards running at angles across the grid.

Maadi lies on the river Nile about 12 km upstream from downtown Cairo, on the east bank. The river is parallelled by the Corniche, a waterfront promenade of the kind found in many Egyptian towns. The main road into Cairo follows the Corniche. There is no bridge across the Nile at Maadi; the nearest one is Mounib towards central Cairo.

Maadi is the least densely populated neighbourhood in Greater Cairo, and much of the town is inhabited by well-to-do Egyptians as well as expatriates.

Residential street in Maadi

Many embassies are located in Maadi, among them the Peruvian, Mexican, Japanese, and Argentinian embassies. The Cairo office for the USAID is also located in this suburb.

Maadi is served by the Cairo Metro's Line 1, which has now taken over the Cairo-to-Helwan railway. There are three stops in Maadi. Further metro construction in Maadi is foreseen, but nothing is beyond the proposal stage as yet.

Egyptian National Railways also operates a line through Maadi, but it is strictly a freight line. There is no longer any passenger service; the station is closed.

[edit] Culture

Services in Maadi are geared to a great extent to serve the town's expatriate population. In addition to numerous western restaurants, there are many churches, and a synagogue. There are also newspapers and magazines catering to this very large sector of Maadi's population. The Maadi Sporting Club has served the local community since 1921.

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