Downtown was built in the 1880’s as part of Khedive Ismail’s massive building project to modernize Cairo and other Egyptian cities. The Khedive’s goal was to make like a European city and he set out to do this by hiring European architects to design a whole new section of the city with wide boulevards and architecture that calls to mind Paris during the same era. If you can handle the traffic that chokes Downtown much of the time today, it is an interesting place to take a walk—full of faded relics of the grandeur of Cairo a century ago.
Townhouse Gallery and Theater—a thriving art gallery and performance space that holds regular movie screenings, art exhibits, and art performances. Located off of Mahmoud Bassouni Street running northwest from Midan Talaat Harb. The website can be found here.
Café Riche—a restaurant that played host to the literary and intellectual elite of Cairo in the middle of the 20th century. Today it is a café that serves beer and decent food on Talaat Harb Street before you reach the Midan, but the classic ambience is preserved inside. See a review here.
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