Qasr al-Nil Bridge

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Qasr al-Nil Bridge
Qasr al-Nil Bridge.jpg
view north from Gezira Island of
Qasr al-Nil Bridge crossing Nile
Coordinates 30°02′37″N 31°13′46″E / 30.043747°N 31.229464°E / 30.043747; 31.229464
Carries Al-Tahrir Street[1]
Design arch[1]
Material steel[1]
Total length 1 932 m[1]
Number of spans 7
Designer Ralph Anthony Freeman[1]
Engineering design by Dorman, Long and Co. Ltd.[1]
Construction begin 1931[1]
Construction end 1933[1]
Construction cost 308,000 EGP
Opened June 6, 1933
Replaces Kobri el Gezira Bridge (1872)[1]

The Qasr al-Nil Bridge (originally named Khedive Ismail Bridge), also commonly spelled Kasr el Nil Bridge, is a historic structure dating to 1931 and replaced the first bridge to span the Nile River in central Cairo, Egypt. It connects Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo to the modern Cairo Opera complex toward the southern end of Gezira Island. At the bridge's east and west approaches are four famous large stone lion statues; they are late 19th-century works by Henri Alfred Jacquemart, French sculptor and animalier. The newer and wider 6th October Bridge parallels its route 0.8 kilometres (0.50 mi) just to the north.


Qasr el-Nil Street crosses over the Nile on the bridge, from the east bank area Tahrir Square—Liberation Square (Midan Tahrir) in downtown Cairo, past the huge The Mogamma government building and the Headquarters of the Arab League, then onto the Qasr al-Nil Bridge over the river to Gezira Island. There it meets Opera Square and the Cairo Opera House, with connections north to the Cairo Tower and the Zamalek district, and south across the island to the Al-Tahrir Bridge across a smaller branch of the Nile to Tahrir Street in the Agouza district on the west bank.

Construction and name[edit]

The previous bridge on the site, Kobri el Gezira Bridge, was built between 1869 and 1871 by Linant de Bellefonds with the participation of France's Five-Lilles Company.[2] The foundation stone for the present Qasr al-Nil Bridge was laid by King Fuad I on February 4, 1931.[1] After over two years of construction, undertaken by Dorman Long & Co. Ltd, King Fuad inaugurated the bridge's opening on June 6, 1933.[2]

The bridge was originally named Khedive Ismail Bridge after King Fuad's father, Khedive Isma'il Pasha. After the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, the name of the bridge, as well as other Egyptian buildings and bridges, were changed. This bridge was renamed Qasr al-Nil in Arabic, which translates as Palace of the Nile.[3]

Public use and demonstrations[edit]

The Qasr al-Nil Bridge, with sidewalks, is popular for strolling in the evenings. The bridge offers views of the river, as well as landmark buildings, hotels, and other structures on the island and along the Corniche Al-Nile on the west bank. The bridge is popular as location for young Egyptian friends and couples to have an inexpensive outdoor date.

2011 Egyptian Revolution[edit]

The bridge has been an ongoing site in the 2011 Egyptian revolution, along with the nearby 6th October Bridge, for public demonstrations on it and as a major route east to the Midan Tahrir—Tahrir Square protest gatherings.[4]


View of western bridge end with lions (circa 1930s) 
View of eastern bridge end with obelisks and lions, circa 2000s 
Bridge with crowds and police (2011) 


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kasr el Nil Bridge - Structurae
  2. ^ a b A bridge misunderstood
  3. ^ Fleishman, Jeffrey (August 14, 2007). "Cairo's bridge of dreams". Los Angeles Times. 
  4. ^ BBC News: "Egypt protests: curfew defied in Cairo and other cities" 29 January 2011. accessed 2011.01.29.

External links[edit]