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The Contrasts of Modern Day Egypt

By Sarah Grimaldi

        The landscape and architecture in Egypt is complete with contrasts everywhere the eye can see. With Cairo being the largest city in Africa, one would assume an array of different architectural styles amongst skyscrapers throughout the city. In reality, the characteristics that shape this city are unlike any we have seen in other global cities. None of the houses in the city were finished, appearing as if someone had left their housing construction midway through. If it were not for the clothes drying on a line or the satellites on the roof, one would think these massive red brick buildings were vacant. Every housing building looked identical to its neighbor with no architectural or style uniqueness throughout these housing complexes.

             The city of Cairo is full of sugar cane fields and palm trees making it a fertile and plush environment. However, with just a short drive from the city’s center a different environment emerges with mountains of sand, white camels, and the monumental Pyramids of Giza. I also noticed Contrasts similar to these in the city of Luxor. The surroundings of the infamous Nile River consisted of luxurious boats that served as restaurants, bars, and night clubs. Five star hotels were scattered along the shore, giving the Nile a transnational setting to any of its onlookers.

            According to the article, “Remaking the Modern “by Ghannam, the beginning of the recent modernization of Egypt was driven by the policies of Anwar el-Sadat after 1973. The growing demand for luxury by the transnational community led to new hotel chains, roads, and bridges to facilitate a modern Cairo. The uses of land and architecture in and around Cairo are full of countless contrasts between the transnational and vernacular that are mind boggling. It will be interesting to see if Cairo continues to modernize and change as it goes through this phenomenal period of globalization.


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