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On a Neighbor’s Balcony: the Colorful Identity of the Egyptian Balcony

August 1, 2022

A man taps his cigarette against the balcony railing, balances his qahwa turki along sparse wood. A woman flares her living room carpet over a different, iron-wrought railing three floors from him, beats the dust from its fringes. A group of children stand on tiptoe, peering down at a Harraniya street just past their family laundry; they giggle when the street vendor hollers back. Balconies are a mundane, simple pleasure in Egypt: they are portals that marry city and home, patience and playfulness. Egyptians seek refuge high above the violent turbulence of Cairo, or the zooming straits of Alexandria in their miss-matched balconies, inviting guests into the simple overview of local stores and sweltering summer heat. In cities particularly, where the outdoors are a scarce resource, balconies provide Egyptians with an escape and an opportunity. Here is a visual exploration of balconies across Egypt, and the subtle beauties that carry wind from the sweeping gardens of Fayoum to the tight, cobblestone streets of al-Sayeda Zeinab….

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