Saturday, 26 January 2013

Black Saturday: The Cairo Fire

Sixty-one years ago today, a great fire ravaged downtown Cairo, destroying nearly 300 shops, 30 corporate offices, 13 hotels, 40 movie theatres*, 73 coffeehouses and restaurants, 92 (!) bars and dozens of other buildings.

Twenty-six people died (among them nine Brits) and 552 were injured. No one was ever arrested (but of course in true Arab spirit there are numerous conspiracy theories). The reason for the fire appears to have been a battle between the British occupier and the Egyptian police force in Ismaïlia, in which fifty police officers died.

As a current resident of downtown Cairo, I am wildly intrigued by this historical event, as I walk the streets it happened on every single day and regularly visit buildings that were set on fire back then.

Al-Ahram featured a slideshow with some pretty interesting pictures a few years ago and there is also a slideshow on Flickr.

* According to Wikipedia. Forty movies theatres just in the centre of Cairo seems like a lot to me, I don't think there even were that many. 

No comments:

Post a Comment