Sakakini was originally part of El Zaher, but it was named after a wealthy, famous, family of Syrian origin, whose patriarch (head of the family), Count Gabriel Habib Sakakini Pasha (1841–1923) had built a palace and a church in the area in 1897. In addition, Sakakini Pasha, is known to have established the Roman Catholic Patriarchate in Faggala and the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Old Cairo.
- The Palestinian president Yasser Arafat was raised in Sakikini in the 1930s.
- The composer Halim El-Dabh was born in Sakakini in 1921.
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