Day 08 - Coffeehouse El Fishawi - Cairo/Old Town - January 31, 2012

The celebrated baladi coffeehouse “El Fishawi” is situated at the heart of the Khan El Khalili souk in the old part of Cairo, right next to the Islamic district. Known throughout the world as the most famous café in the Orient, it first opened its doors in 1710 and is now run by the 7th generation of the Fishawi family. Renowned as a prime meeting place for Arab and international culture, "El Fishawi" has hosted many of the great and the good from that world, including the illustrious Egyptian writer and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, Naguib Mahfoz.

Naguib is considered to be the leading contemporary writer of Arab literature on the theme of existentialism. Over the course of 70 years he published more than 50 novels, 350 short stories, dozens of film scripts and 5 plays. Most of these were written in the room visible in the background of the photograph; a room reserved especially for him and which holds a profusion of photographic and sentimental souvenirs of his passage.

Numerous films portraying the oriental and Islamic face of Cairo have been shot here, many of them inspired by his novels. Reading Naguib’s work, it is easy to imagine that, had he still been alive at the time, he would have had a significant artistic role to play in support of the revolution.

Photo & Text by Gaël Favari

(Photo © Gaël Favari for The Global Journal)


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