Bulaq (also spelled Boulaq and Bulak; Arabic: بولاق, from French: beau lac, "beautiful lake"; Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [boˈlæːʔ]) is a district of Cairo, Egypt. It neighbours Downtown Cairo, Azbakeya, and the River Nile. There are claims that the name Boulaq comes from the French 'Beau Lac', which literally means 'Beautiful Lake', however, the name is much older than the period of French influence starting in the late 18th century.
Following Baybars' conquest of Cyprus, Bulaq became the major port of Cairo on the Nile. By the end of the 15th century, Bulaq was even able to take over the role as the major commercial port from Masr el-Qadima. During the latter half of the 15th century, two important transformations took place in Cairo: the port of Bulaq, and a district called el-Azbakeya in the northwestern section of the city. The parameters of the city had been unchanged for the past 300 years according to the map drawn during Napoleonic Campaign in Egypt in 1798.
The new Egyptian Museum of Antiquities was established at Bulaq in 1858 in a former warehouse, following the foundation of the new Antiquities Department under the direction of Auguste Mariette. The building lay on the bank of the Nile River, and in 1878 it suffered significant damage in a flood. In 1892, the collections were moved to a former royal palace, in the Giza district of Cairo. They remained there until 1902 when they were moved, for the last time, to the current museum in Tahrir Square. The Museum's former location is indicated by the continued existence of a 'Maspero Street', named after the second head of the Antiquities Department.
Following the building of the Nile Corniche, with a road running along the river front, the Bulaq area ceased to be a port; it is now home to various organisations, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Television and Radio Building, the Al-Ahram newspaper and Kalousdian Armenian School.
- Media related to Bulaq at Wikimedia Commons
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