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Memorial to the Unknown Soldier
|• City Leader||Major General. Mohamed El-Sheikh|
|• Total||250 km2 (100 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
Nasr City (Arabic: مدينة نصر pronounced [mæˈdiːnɪt ˈnɑsˤɾ]) is a district of Cairo, Egypt. It is located to the east of the Cairo Governorate and consists mostly of condominia. It was established in the 1960s as an extension to neighboring settlement of Heliopolis. The establishment of the district was part of the Egyptian Government's plan to modernise and expand Cairo following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Egyptian President at the time, was involved personally in the design process, and was the one who chose the name Nasr for the new district ("nasr" being the Arabic word for "victory"). During the early stages of the project it was envisioned that it would constitute a new capital city. Now, Nasr City is extremely crowded, much more than was expected from the creation of the district, because of Egyptian families relocating to the district and also because of Somali and South Sudanese immigration to areas of Nasr City such as Hay El Asher (10th Neighbourhood).
It is the largest district in Cairo, occupying nearly 250 km2 (97 sq mi) of the capital's total area of 1,445 km2 (558 sq mi). For this reason, it is divided into 10 sub-districts, of which numbers 6-10 are called by their respective numbers and the first 5 are called by their names. It has a modern road system, and grid street system, which stands in contrast to the narrow winding streets of much of Old Cairo. Tram system partly serve Nasr City. Also, other forms of transportation exist in Nasr City, including minibuses, microbuses (share taxis), and tuk-tuks (in the 10th district of Nasr City).
Administratively, Nasr City covers kism (fully urban wards) Madīnat an-Naṣr 1 and Madīnat an-Naṣr 2.
When catching a microbus, minibus or even a CTA bus, specific hand signs may be used. These signs include putting the index and middle fingers in an upwards "V", which is the Arabic numeral 7, for the 7th district, placing those fingers upside down in a downwards "V", which is the Arabic number 8, for the 8th district, or putting out a hand and slowly opening and closing the fingers slightly above the start of the palm for the 10th district.
The district is home to many socioeconomic strata. During Ramadan, the comparative wealth of districts can be determined by whether there are electric lights or simply colored flags. The 10th district of Nasr City is home to refugees and immigrants of various countries, such as Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, China, Malaysia, and even the United States. There are many mosques, such as the Masjid al Nour al Mohamedi or Masjid El Ghofran. Also, there are falafel stands, shawarma restaurants, a koshari restaurant near the main road, and pharmacies. Due to the proximity to the airport, there are often planes flying overhead.
Nasr City is home to the new premises of Al-Azhar University, the Cairo International Conference Center, Cairo International Stadium, a branch of the Ahly Club, Saint Fatima School and several government buildings. Among its major landmarks is the pyramid-like Unknown Soldier Memorial honoring the Egyptian and other Arab servicemen killed in the October War of 1973. The Memorial is opposite the grandstand at which President Sadat was assassinated, and is where Sadat himself is buried. The Revolution has led to the presence of colorful graffiti on the road from Masjid al Salaam in the 8th subdistrict to the Ahly branch in Nasr City. This branch has two swimming pools, a large soccer field, a track where members can exercise, a gym, and many stores and restaurants. Members can enter for free, but non-members must pay 40 Egyptian pounds for a ticket during normal weekdays, 50 pounds during weekends and 60 pounds during national holidays. Nasr City also has many mosques, and during the times of prayer, one may hear multiple live adhans preceded and followed by Quranic recitation. Sometimes, the prayers themselves are broadcast through the loudspeakers.
Nasr City is overpopulated, and as such there are numerous schools found in the district. This section will list only a few of the many educational options for children in grades K-12. Private schools offering the Egyptian curriculum include Roots Language school, Harvard Egypt college, Alahram language school, Al Bayan Modern school, Al Manhal school, a branch of Futures Educational systems, one of Nermien Ismail National school's branches, the Egyptian Language school, El Alson language schools, and El Andalaus Azharian schools. Public experimental schools (offering the national curriculum in English) include El Sedeek Experimental school, Ibn El Nafees Experimental school, Elmostakbal language experimental schools, and Abbas El Akkad Experimental schools. Ordinary public schools (offering the national curriculum in Arabic) can be found in every neighborhood. International options include the Futures Educational Systems American school and the Roots International school (British curriculum). Assignment to public schools or experimental schools is generally based on location and siblings' current school and is supervised by the Egyptian Ministry of Education and Child Development. Application to private schools is difficult, and usually begins in the preschool (age 3-4) or KG (age 5-6) levels. However, due to Nasr City's central location, residents of the district can easily send their children to private schools in the neighboring New Cairo (to the east), Heliopolis (to the northwest) and Maadi (to the southwest) districts, with minimum commute.
Nasr City has a large concentration of shopping malls (Genena Mall, Tiba Outlet Mall, City Center, Serag Mall, City Stars, Suncity Mall. There are eight shopping malls in the area, where City Star is one of the largest malls in Egypt, most of which were opened in the late 1990s. There was a dramatic growth of shopping malls in the neighborhood, and they were generally more successful than similar enterprises in other parts of Cairo. One of the main reasons for the success of these commercial centers is the simple grid environment of Nasr City. The district has no town/city center and consists of long, wide streets, with roundabouts, and perpendicular streets.
Nasr City has a variety of shops and leisure spaces including restaurants, coffee shops, and cinemas. The malls are usually very crowded during holidays and summer nights, while the fast-food restaurants and coffee shops remain open and busy until late at night. Late night shopping is popular in Cairo, especially in summer, and thus the malls do not open until around 11am, and peak hours begin around 10pm. Also, each sub-district has its own market, or souq, where one can buy fresh fruit, vegetables, and slaughtered meat. The souq in the 8th district of Nasr City is located next to a gas station five minutes away by foot from the Sedeek Language School. It has a live poultry and livestock section, many fruit and vegetable stands, and a seafood section in the back. Many children of the stand owners work in the market, carrying people's purchases for them, or helping to stock the stands or watch the animals. The 10th district of Nasr City has the biggest market, with at least 3 butchers, 5-6 large fruit and vegetable stands, multiple clothing stores, and slightly crowded streets.
The architecture and decoration of the newly built shopping malls of Nasr City are influenced greatly by building designs in the Gulf and Southeast Asia. The architecture of the Wonderland Mall is marked by its Oriental aspects while the design of the Geneina Mall, with its transparent glass elevators, resembles the design of Southeast Asian malls in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Some of the malls in Nasr City, like the Sirag, and Geneina malls, have associate housing and apartments above the shopping spaces. Although these malls are in close proximity with to another, there is no strict competition between them as most cater to different types of customers. Tiba Outlet Mall, for instance, is regarded as a family mall, while the Geneina Mall is popular among teenagers and youngsters due to its bowling alley, billiard centre, and discothèque. The Serag Mall is located in the 8th district of Nasr City, and it contains the al-Mahmal hypermarket, several clothing stores, and aquatic bumper cars in the main lobby for young children. There is also a restaurant, a cinema, and Multiple Shisha bars.
These contemporary malls are exclusive and closely monitored spaces with tight security surveillance. They often demand specific behaviour and dress code from the visitors. In 1999, some malls like the World Trade Center and the as-Hurriya Mall, put restrictions on visitors wearing gallabiyas, traditional long robes that are often worn by males of the lower classes. These measures were taken by shopping mall managers in order to filter the public and stop people of lower classes from intruding the commercial space. The restriction on people wearing gallabiyas was later lifted due to the influx of Gulf visitors who also commonly wear such garments.
For many, Nasr City symbolizes Cairo's nouveau-riche suburban culture that has been influenced greatly by the lifestyles of the Gulf region. This is because an influx of middle class professionals and returning migrant workers from the Gulf countries purchased property in Nasr City and settled there.
Public buses that go to Nasr City include Buses 1, 12, 72, 84, 125, 66, 132, 302, 304, 184, 137, 138, 120, 727, 80, 10, 126, 132, 19, 314, 65, 939, M1 and M2.
- Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics, Population and Housing Census 2006, Governorate level, Population distribution by sex (excel-file) Archived 2009-01-24 at the Wayback Machine Adjusted census result, as Helwan governorate was created on the 17th of April 2008 from a.o. parts of the Cairo governorate.
- Cairo: Central City & Suburban Population & Density
- "Nasr City was once Egypt's new capital, but things went wrong". Cairobserver. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
- Singerman, Diane, and Paul Amar, eds. Cairo Cosmopolitan. Cairo, New York: The American University in Cairo P, 2006.
- Mona, Abaza. Changing consumer cultures of modern Egypt : Cairo's urban reshaping. Brill Academic Pub, 2006.