Map of Maadi (inset: map of Egypt)
|Time zone||Egypt Standard Time (UTC+2)|
Maadi (Arabic: المعادى / transliterated: el-Ma‛adi pronounced [elmæˈʕæːdi]) is an affluent district in the south of Cairo, Egypt. The district is home to the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, Lycée Français du Caire (LFC), Cairo American College (CAC), Maadi British International School (MBIS), the Cairo Rugby Club, and the national Egyptian Geological Museum. Maadi is also home to the Maadi Sporting Club, founded in 1920 by the British Expats who were mainly working at the Delta real estate Company. The Club offers a range of sports, such as Tennis, Football, Swimming, Squash, Judo, Table Tennis, Sailing, and Rowing. Maadi is popular with expatriate families of various nationalities living in Cairo.
Maadi retains the ancient name of the town that once stood on much the same site as today's district, and which has now turned out to be a significant Predynastic archaeological site. However, building activity in the area has destroyed some archaeologically sensitive places.
There was a story that the name was given after the ferries that operated on the Nile side, carrying people across the Nile to the opposite side, hence the name Ma'adi "plural of the word Ma'adiya معدية, which is Arabic for ferry".
Maadi traces its modern history to 1904 when the railway between Cairo and Helwan was built. This in combination with land speculation by the Mosseri cousins gave rise to a new town. Construction was originally limited to the area right near the railway, but eventually spread down to the river Nile. Also, a large army camp was built east of the railway.
The town planning was done in 1905 by a retired Canadian officer Captain Alexander J. Adams. His vision led to the wide boulevards and large villas still seen in Maadi today. There were very strict rules associated with residential development in Maadi with regards to the size of houses, how much of the property could be occupied by the house and how much had to be left for the garden, and the size of the sidewalks. Even window shutters had prescribed colours.
Second World War
During the period between 1940 and 1946, Maadi had an important role in the Military history of New Zealand during World War II; around 76,000 members of the First Echelon, 2 NZEF (Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force) main body trained at a camp near Maadi at the base of the desert slopes of Wadi Degla and Tel al-Maadi. During that time this area belonged to the Delta Land Company which created Maadi in 1907. The rocky plateau was leased to the New Zealand Forces, and for the next six years became New Zealand's main overseas base.
A British interrogation centre was also located in Maadi. In July 1942, at the height of the Western Desert Campaign, two German radio operators revealed under questioning that they had been using a copy of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, found among their possessions, as a codebook. Their equipment, stored on a houseboat on the River Nile, had been examined by a young signals officer from the Egyptian army, future president Anwar Sadat.
The oldest area in Maadi is El Sarayat, composed mostly of villas and lowrise buildings. It is the most affluent part of Maadi along with the adjacent Degla area. These two areas are recognizable by the high number of roundabouts, quiet atmosphere and greenery.
Maadi lies on the river Nile about 12 km upstream from downtown Cairo, on the east bank. The river is parallelled by the Corniche, a waterfront promenade of the kind found in many Egyptian locations. The main road into Cairo follows the Corniche. There is no bridge across the Nile at Maadi; the nearest one is Mounib towards central Cairo.
Maadi is the least densely populated district in Greater Cairo, and much of it is inhabited by well-to-do Egyptians, as well as expatriates, many of whom are connected with embassies, ambassadorial residences and international corporations located in Maadi. In particular, the Peruvian, Mexican, Japanese, Mongolian and Argentinian embassies, among others, are located in Maadi. The Cairo office for the USAID is also located in Maadi.
In some parts of Maadi, most notably the buildings around Cairo American College, there is virtually no traffic noise. The abundant greenery bears little resemblance to most of the crowded areas seen in urban Cairo, and belies Maadi's desert location.
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Maadi is served by the Cairo Metro's Line 1, which has now taken over the Cairo-to-Helwan railway. There are three stops in Maadi (Hadayek El Maadi, Maadi and Thakanat El Maadi). Further metro construction in Maadi is foreseen, but nothing is beyond the proposal stage as yet.
Egyptian National Railways also operates a line through Maadi, but it is strictly a freight line. There is no longer any passenger service; the station is closed.
Services in Maadi are geared to a great extent to serve its expatriate population. In addition to numerous western restaurants, there are many churches, and a synagogue. The most popular places for westerners to shop at "local" stores is along Road 9. There are also newspapers and magazines catering to this very large sector of Maadi's population. The Maadi Sporting Club has served the local community since 1921. Maadi is also a popular place to study Arabic or take Arabic Courses. Also in Maadi there is large library called Maadi Library.
During World War II members of the 2nd NZEF based at Maadi Camp in Egypt competed in regattas on the Nile against local Egyptian rowing clubs. At a regatta held on 20 November 1943 the Maadi Camp Rowing Club "Kiwi" oarsmen beat the Cairo River Club by 11 points to six to win the Freyberg Cup, which they then gifted to the competitors. In return, as a token of friendship, Youssef Bahgat presented the Kiwis with a cup.
Youssef Bahgat's cup was offered to the NZARA (now NZRA) as a trophy for an annual boys' eight-oared race between secondary schools and was brought to New Zealand at the end of the war. Renamed the Maadi Cup it was first raced for in 1947 at Wanganui where it was won by Mt Albert Grammar. The Maadi Cup gained its native timber pyramid shaped base from Mt Albert Grammar's woodwork master, Jack Jenkin, in 1951.
Currently, Victory College is the home of a Men's and Women's softball league as well as a Men's Rugby league. This allows the expatriate population to come together as a community.
- Beattie 2005: 183
- Bullett 1971: 181ff.
- "Overseas Offices." Taisei Corporation. Retrieved on February 20, 2012. "NORTH AFRICA OFFICE 25th, Rd. No.10, Station Sqr, Maadi, Cairo, ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT"
- Beattie, Andrew (2005). Cairo: a cultural history. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517892-0.
- Bird, Kai (2010). Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of age between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978. New York: Scribner. ISBN 978-1-4165-4440-1.
- Bullett, Gerald William (1971) . The street of the eye. N.p.: n.p. pp. 181ff. ISBN 0-8369-3970-0.
- Maadi History
- Maadi Online - Brief Information