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This article is about the Cairo district. For the Football Club, see Zamalek SC. For Zamalek as the nickname for Black Label beer, see Carling Black Label.
Aerial view looking south, with the Zamalek and Gezira districts on Gezira Island, surrounded by the Nile.
A Boat on the Nile in the Zamalek area.
Gezira Island is home to the Cairo Opera House.
The Cairo Tower and Opera Square at night.

Zamalek (Egyptian Arabic: الزمالك pronounced [ez.zæˈmæːlek]) is an affluent district of western Cairo encompassing the northern portion of Gezira Island in the Nile River. The island is connected with the river banks through three bridges each on the east and west sides of the island, including the Qasr al-Nil Bridge and 6th October Bridge. It has witnessed many phases of growth affected by many economic and political currents which has led to a crowding of parts of the island including great reductions in the Zamalek district's open green areas, but with a large greenbelt across the island's middle defining the two districts.


Zamalek, along with Maadi, Mohandessin, Heliopolis, and Garden City, is one of the affluent residential districts in Greater Cairo.[1]

The quiet, leafy streets and 19th-century apartment blocks and villas make this one of the most attractive parts of the city and a favored residential location for many of Cairo’s European expatriates.[2] It is also the district of many fine restaurants, bars and cafes, including traditional open-air ahwas and European cappuccino bars. The Gezira Island area is culturally active: with art galleries and museums, including the Museum of Islamic Ceramics; and two of Cairo’s major music and performing arts venues — the spacious Egyptian Opera House complex, and the El Sawy Culturewheel Centre.


Under Khedive Ismail the Island was called "Jardin des Plantes" (Garden of Plants), because of its great collection of exotic plants shipped from all over the world. French landscape designer De la Chevalerie designed the island's landscape plan, gardens, and plant nurseries. On the east shore a kiosk was built for attending the island and supervising its development.

The kiosk was replaced in 1869 with the Gezirah Palace, a U-shaped summer mansion, which was designed by Julius Franz Pasha and decorated by Karl Von Diebitsch. The palace was built and first used for guests attending the 1869 opening of the Suez Canal.[1] Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria and Eugénie, Empress of the French were some of the noble guests of the palace. Today the Gezira Palace is the central part of the Cairo Marriott Hotel, with its rooftop having an open-air theatre facing the Nile.

Other palaces were also built in Zamalek, including Prince Sa'id Toussoun's palace, which is now a branch of the Council of Ministers, and Prince Amr Ibrahim's palace (1924), which is now the Museum of Islamic Ceramics.[3][4] In 1882 the Gezira Sporting Club was built in the southern region of the island.[5] Later a water garden known as the "Grotto Garden," with a rare collection of African fish, was built by British Captain Stanley Flower in Zamalek.

Several notable Egyptian figures lived in Zamalek including the Diva of the East Umm Kulthum.


As of 2010, over 420.000 people live on the island.[citation needed]


Additional Meanings[edit]

Zamalek is also a term coined by South Africans to represent a South African beer called Black Label. South African Breweries is the manufacturer of said beer product.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Zamalek Today". Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  2. ^ Zamalek | Areas in Cairo | Worldwide City Guide | Wanted Worldwide
  3. ^ Jimmy Dunn. "Zamalek". Retrieved 8 August 2008. 
  4. ^ -image: Prince Amr Ibrahim palace-Museum of Islamic Ceramics
  5. ^ a b Samir Raafat (17 February 1996). "Gezira Sporting Club milestones". Archived from the original on 15 June 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2008. 
  6. ^ Samir Raafat (16 August 1997). "The Cairo Tower". Archived from the original on 15 June 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2008. 
  7. ^ "Egypt hosts London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra". 1 February 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2008. [dead link]
  8. ^ "El Sawy Culturewheel in Egypt: From a place for beggars to a resort for intellectuals" (in Arabic). CNN. 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2009-04-01. 
  9. ^ The Museums of Islamic Art and Islamic Ceramics | Egyptian Monuments

Coordinates: 30°04′N 31°13′E / 30.067°N 31.217°E / 30.067; 31.217