The Journey of Cairo ; from Statehood to National Independence

Author: Tarek Waly

Publishing date : 2019

Language : Arabic



This is the second book in the series Comprehending Urbanization in Lieu of the Analysis of Places

The first was "Muharraq, Urbanism of a Gulf city". This series follows the journey of urbanization in Arab communities. It represents a reading of   the history of a community’s urbanization process in light of its history.  The adopted angle of vision by the author, presents a social point of reference as well as a composition of political and economic forces. It also covers history, geography, settlement and the local environment. In addition, it deals with all fields of arts and crafts. With all the various systems, laws, institutions and organizations.

Without a doubt, Cairo has always been, and still is composed of rings or episodes that have existed in the same domain across the time. Cairo and its urbanism may not be comprehended without deciphering those rings, which present the key to understanding its unique character. It is obvious that the study of the urbanism of a place should not be limited to a specific historical era, but rather it is it to reach into the depth of the experience of civilization itself. It is through the historical role, that the positive effectiveness of humans and the environment may be identified.



From that perspective this book follows "The Journey Of Cairo  From Ottoman State To The National Independence"

Our approach simply means the transition from the state of knowledge to that of contemplation, from transmitted reports to rational ideas, along a path of calculating facts to reaching the truth itself .Also, from witnessing the event and reporting it ,  to the disclosure of the inherent incident , from cognition to creativity . Through a careful reading of those stances, adopting objectivity, scientific methodology and analysis. This is achieved through : The writings of travellers and historians, Geographical mapping, Orientalist visions of artists and photographers and the literary writings by national intellectuals, artists and scientists.

Following an extended and sequential trip , during which there have appeared stops , or specific critical events, in context of the city's role , presence and condition , whether these events are local, regional or global . As means of  illustration , and not of limitation, four such stations or episodes, in the relay scenario of the trip of the city, or events that have played a role in shaping the morphology of Cairo, are addressed. Such are pivotal events in the history of Egypt, its territorial domain and the region as a whole, and thus, the city and the community:

In 1258 was the establishment of the Mamluk state. This was coupled with the political transformation in the governance of Egypt, and an end of the role of the Arabic Abbasid Caliphate. Only a symbolic image had been hosted by Cairo, to bestow a missing legitimacy on the Mamluk era. A growing political role of Cairo, alone, was assumed, in the eastern Arab region. This had led Cairo to become the capital of the East and the South Mediterranean along  with the division of the nation to ethnic groups and regions. The Levant had been one of the regions, with Cairo being the capital under the Mamluks clique. A regional launch towards the eastern Arab regions.

In 1517 was the fall of the Mamluks state, and the official end of the Arab Caliphate (succession), which had been transferred to Istanbul and replaced by the Ottoman Empire of Turkey. That had turned Egypt into a subsidiary province to the new Caliphate, with Cairo becoming a provincial capital. While Cairo had kept its urban mobility, its political and territorial role had changed. The decline of that role to a local one, within the Turkish Caliphate.

In 1798, major events took place, and a growing conflict had  prevailed between north and south, and a ferocious race of European powers to control provinces of the Ottoman Empire with Egypt specifically targeted. . Confrontations with Ali Bek Al Kabeer flared. They  were  followed  by  the French expedition, with its military and Orientalist tendencies. At that point of time, independence tendencies had risen with Muhammad Ali Pasha or it had rather taken place with the leadership of the elite of Cairo. Cairo, then, had taken a different role extracted from its regional roots and its Arab Affiliations. Adversely, the mostly European aspirations of its rulers, had reached its peak with the phase of the rule of Ismail Pasha followed by Tawfiq Pasha, which ultimately led to the military British occupation in 1882. Sub ordination to the West European civilization.

In 1923 the growth of the Egyptian national movement unfolded at the end of the nineteenth century with Orabeyyeen on one hand, and the enlighteners on the other , such as Sheikh Muhammad Abdu and others. At the outset of the twentieth century, Egypt witnessed the birth of a national movement which resulted in the rise of a liberal spirit in Cairo. It thrived up to the end of the First World War and the ultimate fall of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. That generated nation-states in the Arab Middle East in what had resembled national independence. Egypt transformed from an Ottoman province to a State country, with a nominal independence, albeit under the yoke of European domination. It was to play a leading political, intellectual, and cultural role among the surrounding Arab countries. With the growing nationalist movements, Cairo had become the central focal point, and the pole of attraction with virtue to its unique historical and cultural heritage as well as its capabilities and diversified currents. The growth of a national and regaining Arab leadership.

The book reviews the journey of Cairo in six chapters in a chronological sequence as follows:

Chapter 1 : Cairo , Geography And History

Chapter 2 : Cairo At The End Of The Middle Ages

Chapter 3 : Cairo At The Beginning Of The Ottoman State

Chapter 4 : Cairo At The Preliminaries Of The End Of The Ottoman State .. Orientalism In The Eighteenth Century

Chapter 5 : Cairo At The End Of The Ottoman State In The End Of The Nineteenth Century

Chapter 6 : Cairo In The Era Of National Liberalism In The First Half Of The 20Th Century

The text of the book in is in Arabic , It consists of around 50,000 words and has been based on nearly 200 references.