Cairo, 'Mother of the World': its vividly diverse neighborhoods and building styles reveal its cosmopolitan energy and reflect the myriad of economic, political, and cultural forces that have shaped the city over the centuries. So impressed was Khedive Ismail after a visit to Haussman's 'new' Paris in 1867 that he decided to build a modern city along the same architectural lines and aesthetics, and brought European architects to Cairo to initiate Egypt's most dynamic building period since medieval times. The stunning buildings of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Cairo remain, but they are neglected, threatened by pollution, and are being pulled down for concrete highrises and parking lots. Paris along the Nile captures in 200 black-and-white photographs the architectural jewels of 'modern' Cairo.
Cynthia Myntti, who lived and worked in Cairo in the 1980s, is an anthropologist and architect. She directs the Neighborhood Initiative at the American University of Beirut, in Lebanon.