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 in 1428, 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 Egyptian Museum of Antiquities was originally built in 1835 near the Asbakiya Gardens. The museum soon moved to Boulaq in 1858 because the original building was too small to hold all of the artifacts. In 1855, shortly after the artifacts were moved, Archduke Maximilian of Austria was given all of the artifacts. He hired a French architect to design and construct a new museum for the antiquities. The new building was to be constructed on the bank of the Nile River in Boulaq. In 1878, after the museum was completed for some time, it suffered irreversible damage; a flood of the Nile River caused the antiquities to be relocated to another museum, in Giza. The remained there until 1902 when they were moved, for the last time to the current museum in Tahrir Square.
Due to the changes in transportation, Boulaq area could no longer be considered as a port[why?]. Today, Bulaq is home to famous organisations, such as the Al-Ahram newspaper and Kalousdian Armenian School.
- Media related to Bulaq at Wikimedia Commons
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