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Mokattam (upper area), above the City of the Dead—Cairo necropolis, in a 1904 aerial view by Eduard Spelterini from a hot air balloon.
The area on election day, 2011.

The Mokattam (Arabic: المقطم‎, also spelled Muqattam), also known as the Muqattam Mountain or Hills, is the name of a range of hills and a suburb in them, located in southeastern Cairo, Egypt.[1][2][3]


The Arabic name "Mokattam", which means "cut off" or "broken off", refers to how the low range of hills is divided into three sections. The highest segment is a low mountain landform called Moqattam Mountain.[4] In the past the low mountain range was an important ancient Egyptian quarry site for limestone, used in the construction of temples and pyramids.[2][2][5]


The hills are in the region of ancient Fustat, the new capital founded by 'Amr ibn al-'As after the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 642 CE. A section of the Mokattam Hills contains Muqattam, an affluent suburb of Cairo.[3] Other sections have slums. The Zabbaleen people, who are an integral part of collecting and processing Cairo's municipal solid waste, live in Manshiyat Naser, Garbage City, at the foot of the Mokattam Hills.[6]


Main article: Simon the Tanner

The Muqattam is widely known in the Coptic Church, as it is believed to have moved up and down when the Coptic Pope Abraham of Alexandria performed a mass near it in order to prove to the Caliph that the Gospel is true when it says that if one has faith like a grain of mustard one can move a mountain. The name "Broken off Mountain" may be related to the fact that in the story the mountain breaks off from the underlying rock and rises up, before coming back down.[7]

The story can be found here. See Simon the Tanner for a fuller version of the story.


Moqattam is the name of a documentary film about the garbage-collecting Manshiyat Naser village and its Zabbaleen people, directed by Jehane Noujaim.

See also[edit]

In Moqattam Hills foothills


  1. ^ "Extraordinary Grace in Cairo: The Garbage Village of Muqattam". Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  2. ^ a b c Kamel, Seif. "Al Mokattam Mountain: On top of Cairo". Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  3. ^ a b "The Address Hotels & Resorts unveils first property in Emaar Misr’s Uptown Cairo". 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  4. ^ "Cave Church". Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  5. ^ Sir Philip de M. Grey Egerton, Bart, M.P., F.R.S., F.G.S., P. d. M. G. (1854). "Palichthyologic Notes. No. 8. On some Ichthyolites from the Nummulitic Limestone of the Mokattam Hills, near Cairo". Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society 10: 374. doi:10.1144/GSL.JGS.1854.010.01-02.42. 
  6. ^ Gauch, Sarah (January 6, 2003). "Egypt dumps 'garbage people'". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  7. ^ BBC Newshour, October 11, 2014, 20:00 GMT.

Coordinates: 30°01′N 31°18′E / 30.02°N 31.30°E / 30.02; 31.30