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Egypt Through Time: Photographs From 1800-2013

The Pyramids in 1880.

The Pyramids in 1880.

Since the 2011 revolution, old photographs of Egypt and classic films showing an elegant and prosperous Egyptian society have sporadically appeared on social networks. Essentially, many are searching to learn and be inspired by the past in order to build a brighter future.  Below, is a collection of photographs of Egypt (mainly from Cairo and Alexandria) taken between the 1800s and present day.

1800s

The Citadel in Cairo in 1870

The Citadel in Cairo in 1870

'Old' Cairo in the 1870s with the Citadel in the background

‘Old’ Cairo in the 1870s with the Citadel in the background

Alexandria in 1875

Alexandria in 1875

Near the Pyramids in 1875.

Near the Pyramids in 1875.

Lower Egypt, 1885

Lower Egypt, 1885

Abdeen Square in 1892

Abdeen Square in 1892

Qasr Al-Nil Bridge near Tahrir Square 1880-1890s

Qasr Al-Nil Bridge near Tahrir Square 1880-1890s

1900-1939

frenchdistrict1900s

Cairo’s French District in 1900-1910

Tahrir in the 1900s

Tahrir Square in 1900s

The National Bank of Cairo in 1910

The National Bank of Cairo in 1910

Cairenes in 1920s

King Farouk and his sisters in the 1930s

The view from Mokattam (Cairo) in 1920

The view from Mokattam (Cairo) in 1920

Hotel Cecil in Alexandria in 1920. This was a luxury hotel, highly renowned at the time.

Hotel Cecil in Alexandria in 1920. This was a luxury hotel, highly renowned at the time.

Karnak Temple Entrance 1920 (Luxor)

Karnak Temple Entrance 1920 (Luxor)

Cairo Railway Station 1920s

Cairo Railway Station 1920s

A street in Cairo, 1929

A street in Cairo, 1929

Fouad Street, Cairo in 1935

Fouad Street, Cairo in 1935

Alexandria's Korniche in 1935

Alexandria’s Korniche in 1935

A street peddler in 1935

A street peddler in 1935

1940-1999

A Cairo Street in 1941

A Cairo Street in 1941

Pedestrians in Cairo, 1941

Pedestrians in Cairo, 1941

A military plane flies over the Pyramids in 1942

A military plane flies over the Pyramids in 1942

Rolls Royce cars at the Royal Abdeen Palace in 1940s

Rolls Royce cars at the Royal Abdeen Palace in 1940s

A Cairo street in 1954

A Cairo street in 1954

Alexandria's Stanley Beach in the 1950s

Alexandria’s Stanley Beach in the 1950s

Beach-goers in the 1950s

Beach-goers in the 1950s

Tahrir Square in 1960

Tahrir Square in 1960

Alexandria's Korniche in 1960

Alexandria’s Korniche in 1960

Louis Armstrong and his wife at the Pyramids in 1961

Louis Armstrong and his wife at the Pyramids in 1961

Ramsees Square in the 1960s

Ramsees Square in the 1960s

A female traffic officer (normally after-school volunteers) in the 1960s

A female traffic officer (normally after-school volunteers) in the 1960s

The re-assembling of Abu Simbel in 1968

The re-assembling of Abu Simbel in 1968

Former Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat and Former US President Richard Nixon at the Pyramids in 1974

Former Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat and Former US President Richard Nixon at the Pyramids in 1974

Tahrir Square, 1975

Tahrir Square, 1975

Present Day

The Nile River, 2000s

The Nile River

Restaurants on the Nile River

Restaurants on the Nile River

A sunset in Cairo, 2013

A sunset in Cairo

Near Khan El-Khalili

Near Khan El-Khalili

The Pyramids and the Sphinx

The Pyramids and the Sphinx

Concrete jungle (Cairo)?

Concrete jungle (Cairo)?

An ottoman period mosque located across the 14th-century madrasa in Khan El-Khalili

An ottoman period mosque located across the 14th-century madrasa in Khan El-Khalili

Shali in Siwa Oasis

Shali in Siwa Oasis

Tahrir Square on January 25, 2011

Tahrir Square on January 25, 2011

Tahrir Square on July 3, 2013

Tahrir Square on July 3, 2013. Credit: Ian Lee

[Photographs sourced from various locations - many without credits. Some sources include Egypt Zaman, The Denver Post, LIFE, and The New York Public Library]

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71 Comments on Egypt Through Time: Photographs From 1800-2013

  1. Constantine Zannis // April 19, 2014 at 7:44 pm // Reply

    I am Greek, and I was born in Cairo, the same like my father and my grandfather.
    I left in 1960 for studies and my family followed in 1965 and 1967.
    I still miss MY Egypt. The one I knew when I was a child. The tolerant non-veiled Egypt.
    It is not the old souvenirs that make things look ideal and much better than what they used to be. We lived in a certain harmony and enjoyed what could and should have been a paradise and I truly believe that this generous and tolerant country was a real melting pot of many civilizations. At least for persons and nationalities that wanted to live in friendly relations.
    As for the lady who mentions “My family was kicked out of Egypt because we are Jews.” I’m sorry for her, because many of my childhood friends left the country that same period and I never met then again, but I’d like to remind her, because in 1956 I was 13 years old, that she was eventually deported not because she was Jew, but most probably because she was either a French or a British citizen, after the three-partite aggression in Suez. For years I was not feeling “friendly” after we left OUR EGYPT, but for God’s sake, we have to be honest at least with our selves.
    God bless Egypt for what it did offer to all of us.

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  2. Here is a link to Cairo photos from 1952 to 1956 http://www.coug.net/egyptphotos

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  3. Amazing!

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  4. you’re ignorant. and you’re probably the one who doesn’t shower. :)

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  5. amazing

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  6. Now all the Women have a tent over their head, muslim men have long beards and dont shower. The Streets are dirty and smelly.

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    • And where are you getting this exactly? CNN?

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    • Unfortunately you’re partly true. Things are declining so fast in good old Egypt.. I still have hope for a turnaround though. Never loose hope.

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    • Who told you that muslim men have long breads and don’t shower ! am muslim men and i don;t have long breads and i don’t think that i have to tell how many showers i took per day ! Also not all women have a tent over their head… i believe that you are watching Egypt from the side you want to see it.
      You are watching them through CNN BBC ! i think that you have to see Egypt from different side.

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  7. asmaakhattab // January 14, 2014 at 8:36 pm // Reply

    Reblogged this on Walk Like An Egyptian and commented:
    Beautiful Egypt Through Time: Photographs From 1800-2013

    Like this

  8. I’d like to buy a book of old Cairo with pictures like these. Any recommendations?

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  9. Born and raised in Alexandria, I left in 1990 when I was already 30 yrs old.
    It was my decision and, now, I don’t regret it. But I still miss MY Egypt. The one I knew when I was a child, a young man. The tolerant Egypt, non-veiled and much less corrupted than today. We lived in a certain harmony and enjoyed what could and should have been a paradise. Instead, because of extremism and corruption, because of brain wash and stupidity we went backwards 100 years !
    I just hope we will be able to jump forward very quickly.
    God bless Egypt.

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  10. I HOPE THAT PEACE TODAY REMAIN BETWEEN CHRISTIAN AND MOSLEMS AS IT WAS BEFORE DURING OUR OLDY AND GOOD TIME EGYPT. ELIE MATHIAS.

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  11. adel khalil elashmaey // November 8, 2013 at 8:18 am // Reply

    ADEL KHALIL says .It is wonderful to see all these lovely pictures and it take us back for more than 150 years and we will go but EGYPT will remain EGYPT.thanks a lot for the publisher.

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  12. I love those old photographs. Thank you for sharing them!

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  13. change has to come from within (like the russians). when the egyptians stop to be corrupt (the govt that is) and use the borrowed money to spend on education etc, and social welfare projects then this country will be a great country that you all above seem to think it was …before nasser since nasser egypt was never a great country …ancient egypt yes, but not the egypt you all are referring to! ask the real egyptians … those who make up 80 of the population…not the 20 elitists…what was so great about cairo under farouk? that the streets looked ‘european” the the buildings were “european”… nasser had the right idea only he was ignorant to pull it through,sadat was a coward some praise his open door policy…it opened an economic disaster…the poor egyptian who keep saying that sadat was great because they thought owning mercedes and video players was the answer to their problems, made a hero by the american propaganda machine, mubarak…well we all know what he is…morsi…hmm no comment…(but still should have finished his term in office)

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  14. Thank you Shohdy
    So nice to see passive Egypt. The Tahrir Square then how beautiful it was like all other places compared with the recent photos. Kind regards. Rashad

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  15. Hassan el sawy // October 17, 2013 at 11:30 pm // Reply

    مصر ام الدنيا وهاتبقى اد الدنيا

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    • Hassan el sawy // October 17, 2013 at 11:32 pm // Reply

      مصر ام الدنيا وهاتبقى اد الدنيا

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    • Ahlan Mousahlan. I was born in Alexandrie in 1926 and now lives in California. I pray that Egypt breturns to its old Glory and the Egyptiatians to love and peace. Mitshakara. JM

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  16. I lived in Cairo as a child in the sixties… brings back nice memories!

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  17. And after Tahrir Square, the twilight…

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  18. I love the old classic environment of Egypt

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  19. wow,,,it’ s a paradise

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  20. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL EGYPT, ALONG THE PAST AND THE PRESENT. GREAT THANKS TO ALLAH ALMIGHTY FOREVER,TO THE MIRACULOUS RISQUE OF OUR BELOVED EGYPT FROM THOSE INVISIBLE ENEMIES. AND THEY CALL THEMSELVES ” MUSLIMS!! “. WHAT A JOKE, THEY ARE FAR FITCHED FROM OUR NOBLE AND PEACE LOVING GREAT ISLAM. THEY ARE A PUNCH OF DEMENTED, INHUMAN,AND SEX MANIAC FULL OF HATE AND ENVY. THEY ARE GOOD FOR NOTHING THUGS. GOOD RIDDEN.

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  21. Susan G Field // October 3, 2013 at 11:43 pm // Reply

    Great job! Wonderful pictures! Thank you for sharing the past and present of Egypt. Keep up the good work. Excellent reporting.

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  22. Elie Azoulai // October 3, 2013 at 2:13 pm // Reply

    Pays agité et devenu misérable pour ses habitants. Quel dommage ? J’espère qu’un jour des hommes egyptiens, de bonne volonté, créeront de nouveau les conditions nécessaires pour une nouvelle vie pleine de joies et de bonheur pour leur peuple.

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  23. Pays agité et devenu misérable pour ses habitants. Quel dommage.

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  24. Eygept so lovely and in her people too hopw peace for all

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  25. Reblogged this on Escapade through Egypt and commented:
    Beautiful historic images! Check out this set of Vintage Egypt photographs that I found in my husband’s childhood home:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cairocamels/sets/72157626465561115/with/5660534729/

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  26. Tahrir Square wow that’s different. Live in Egypt presently and it is sad to see some of the places left to ruin. Especially some of the old houses that get replaced with big ugly apartment blocks.
    Any pics of Maadi?

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    • Viviane Hauf // October 7, 2013 at 10:07 am // Reply

      I do, as I was born in Maadi and my father was the Swiss doctor there until we left in 1952 a week before the revolution ! I also have footage he shot at the club. Samir Rifaat published books showing the houses in Maadi in the past.

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  27. Reblogged this on xpatdiveguide and commented:
    Take a quick historical photo journey through Egypt from 1800 to present day.

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  28. sultanasultanalatifasbrlog blogspot.com // October 1, 2013 at 9:43 am // Reply

    We cannot re-live the past! I was born there but was kicked out with my family because I was Jewish!

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    • You weren’t kicked out… you left either because the Zionists invited you as they did others who refused the offer OR you were one who participated in the Zionist attacks on Egypt. Which was it? If Egyptians didn’t want Jews there, they would have also destroyed your holy places; instead, they preserve them along with the Christian and Islamic sites. Zionist troll is what you are!

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  29. This beautiful country will never be the same again. I know, I have lived and worked there on and off since 1983. Egypt was always timeless and happy just to carry on looking after it’s visitors and tourists. Now it’s younger generation want to see change quickly. The Pyramids look down after 5000 years and try to give good advice saying ‘slow down’ but nobody is listening. The great days in this great country have gone I’m afraid.The younger generation think they have the resources to become another Dubai but they do not, so they can kiss everything they had goodbye; One thing is for sure. The future will not replace what this magnificent country had before….

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    • I don’t understand why you are so pessimistic, 3 years haven’t passed yet since the revolution. The young generation is taking an active part in the future of their country, something that is rare in this region. If anything that should make people more optimistic.

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      • Egypt has become a dump…you people are living in the past. Egypt was something when Europeans were there…now…it’s just a third world country that’s too dangerous to even visit…

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        • Egypt is a developing country, just like many others around the world. The Europeans did certainly build some nice buildings though, Egypt sure didn’t have any of that before.

          The Europeans also demonstrated their moral superiority when they used forced labor to build railways and the Suez canal. It’s no wonder Europe has always been a paradise, I’m sure many Jews will agree.

          Egypt has always been something, it’s just that narrow minded people can’t see that. Every country has had its tough times and Egypt is going through that at the moment.

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        • Reading through your posts I’m sad to see you’ve unfortunately gone through something no-one should have to. It looks like you’ve chosen to bash Egypt rather than try to work with the new generations to make things better, and that’s sad as well.

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    • I agree. I too had to leave in 1956 with one suitcase and 6 pounds. Had to sleep on a bench at the train station in Marseilles until I went to Israel. Claire

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    • WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO YOU SIR,YOU HAVE OVERLOOKED THAT EGYPTIANS ALONG THEIR HISTORY HAD EVEN WORSE TIME, HOWEVER,THEY BOUNCED BACK AFTER MANY BAD PATCHES IN THEIR LIFE .THOSE PEOPLE WHO LIGHTENED UP AND LED THE WHOLE WORLD AT THE DOWN OF CIVILIZATION WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED OR INTIMIDATED BY ANY ENEMY. I AM AN OPTIMIST, EGYPT,WITH ALLAH’S WILL AND HER FORMIDABLE YOUTHFUL MANPOWER WILL SOON OVERCOME THIS CURRENT OVERWHELMING NASTY TRANSIENT PERIOD AND PROSPERITY WILL PREVAIL ONCE AGAIN. MARK MY WORDS SIR.

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      • Dream on, dream on, Egyptians can’t do anything right… it is a doomed place, everything is corrupt, their gov, health care system, education, even the army could not secure it’s borders. I am an Egyptian, but decided long time ago that empty pride and arrogance gets Egypt nowhere.

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  30. Reblogged this on My Insights and commented:
    Awesomely Awesome :)

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  31. I recognized where I used to live, right across from the National Bank on
    Kasr el Nil Street. So many things come to mind. Thanks for those pictures.

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    • I was born in my grandmother’s house on 51 Rue Kasr el Nil.

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    • I left in 1969, and went to U.S.A, I think about Egypt everyday and how happy I was living in Egypt, I hope I can go back before I die.

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      • My family was kicked out of Egypt because we are Jews. Nasser and his thugs took everything from us. I was a very little girl and what I mostly remember are the big fat Arab women searching us when we were leaving. They scared me half to death. They took from me a gold pin with a turquoise stone that my grandmother had given me….despicable savages!

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        • You’re not the only one to have gone through this and many times worse. They “confriscated” everything we had, they even tried to take our dignity away. Westerners should leave ALL the Arab countries to go to each others’ throats – not interfere or try to “help”. What for? Get a knife in your back at the first opportunity?

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  32. ‘Think I recognized me in one of the Cairo 1920s pics!

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  33. Brilliant post. We were once nice and decent, hopefully the best is yet to come isA.

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    • you’re right about the past but I’m not so sure that you’re right about the future…things have gone downhill for Egypt ever since Nasser came to power in the mid 1950s.

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  34. amitava ghosh // September 29, 2013 at 5:53 pm // Reply

    I went through the phtographs with interest. I really appreciate the journey of Egypt through the ages. It is a great civilisation. I must thank Anirban for sharing this site.

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  35. GIORGIO Buccetti // September 29, 2013 at 7:38 am // Reply

    GRANDI RICORDI DELL’ EGITTO DEL PASSATO ,È SEMPRE UN PIACERE RIVEDERE QUEI LUOGHI INCANTATI ,GRAZIE , SHOKRAN .

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  36. Veeeeeeeeery nice photos, عمار يا مصر

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  37. Thank you. I enjoyed these pictures. I live in Cairo. Have a terrific day :-)

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  38. Wonderful photos.. Tons of memories!

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  39. Lovely Egypt. History we partly live through and part we sometimes get to see for the first time. I love it.

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  40. Actually, the building on the right in Khan el-Khalili is a sabil-kuttab, not a mosque. It was built by Abdulrahman Katkhuda and used to sell water to pedestrians as well as teach the Quran to children. On the left is the Al-Nasir Mohamed bin Qalawun complex- mosque and madrasa :)

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    • I believe most or all sabil-kuttabs were gifts from rich people, in this case Abdulrahman Katkuda, and the water was provided free and not sold. Nowadays, donations are in the form of a water tap at the corner of a street. Providing water has always been an essential sign of charity in Egypt. That’s why there were so many sabils. Only a few remain.

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  41. Thanks for showing the past – and sharing the present.

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