Photo Essays

23 Vintage Photos of Egypt’s Golden Years

23 Vintage Photos of Egypt’s Golden Years

A woman reading a magazine in the 1950s
A woman reading a magazine in the 1950s

By Mohamed Khairat, Founder,

Egypt in the 1900s was a different place. Egyptian cinema was the third largest in the world, Cairo was a city that foreigners dreamt of spending their holidays exploring, Egyptian music flourished and shook the world, Jews, Muslims and Christians lived together as neighbours, and women had freedoms that were unheard of in many other countries.

Egypt was a place of liberal spirits, unhampered by sectarian and ethnic prejudices. The rights of men, women and children were championed.

Yet, all that has changed, and often may Egyptians forget the Egypt that used to be. Here are 23 photographs of vintage advertisements and other images that will teleport you to Egypt’s ‘golden years’ and show you an Egypt you may have forgotten ever existed.

(These photographs are available thanks to ‘Vintage Egypt. Click here for more)

1. “The Japanese do not respect women.”



This magazine cover of Egyptian actress Shadia in 1961 after a trip to Tokyo has her boldly declaring that Japan does not respect women. A lot has changed: in 2013, Egypt was ranked among the ‘worst places to be a woman.’

2. “Let’s just kiss and play”

An advertisement for children's toys at Omar Effendi, a popular department store, in 1948.
An advertisement for children’s toys at Omar Effendi, a popular department store, in 1948.

Kissing of any kind in Egypt is nowadays frowned upon. Once upon a time, ‘love’ was freely expressed on the silver screen. This is almost unheard of today.

3. Cairo or Rome?

A Vespa advertisement from 1950 showing the Cairo Citadel.
A Vespa advertisement from 1950 showing the Cairo Citadel.

Women driving cars in Cairo face numerous problems today: not only is the traffic suffocating, but the cat-calls and the harassment that many endure while in the comfort of their cars has become a daily occurrence for many. Imagine a woman driving a Vespa in the middle of Cairo.

4. Skirts, school and the open air

A teacher in Aswan with her students in 1966

Recently, a young woman was harassed at Cairo University for wearing a pink sweater and black pants and not covering her long blonde hair. Yet, decades ago, skirts attracted little to no such harassment.

5. A Jewish department store…in Egypt?

An advertisement for Benzion department store

Benzion department store was founded in Cairo by Moise Levy de Benzion, a Sephardic Jew who had lived in Egypt. Benzion’s legacy, however, ended while he was in Europe during World War II. Benzion was captured and killed in a camp by the Nazis. Shortly after his death, the government ran the department store until it shut down several years later. The idea of a Jewish department store in Egypt will likely surprise many: a few years ago Sainsbury’s was forced to shut down over rumours that the owner was Jewish spread like wildfire in Egypt.

6. “Let’s head to the beach…in speedos!”

A photograph taken at a public beach in Egypt in 1964.

Swimwear fashion has changed worldwide. Men and women in swimsuits enjoying the sand and the water at a public beach in 1964. You do not want to see what a public beach looks like these days.

7. BEER!

A 1961 advertisement for Stella

Basically: alcohol advertisements are no longer in existence in Egypt. Last year, alcohol was almost completely banned from the country by the now-removed Islamist government.

8. The man who united the Arabs

A propaganda piece promoting Ex-President Nasser in 1965

Gamal Abdel Nasser was hailed during his reign as the man who stood up against imperialism and the man behind the idea of ‘Pan-Arabism.’ He attempted to adopt a ‘socialist (Nasserist)’ economic policy in Egypt and attempted to unite the Arabs in a scheme similar to the European Union.

9. Are you sure this is Assiut?



These are groups of Egyptian women at a political rally in Assiut. Not a single woman was wearing the veil or a baggy dress, yet they were considered to have been dressed appropriately and were not attacked for their fashion.

10. The Egyptian Female Revolutionary

Egyptian women volunteer to bear arms in 1956
Egyptian women volunteer to bear arms in 1956

Egyptian women volunteered in 1956 to bear arms in resistance to a joint Israeli-French-British attack, after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal in what became known as the 1956 Suez Crisis. Today, Egyptian women do not participate in the military (unless its in an administrative role).

11. Military propaganda existed in 1957 and it still exists today

1957 Military Propaganda
1957 Military Propaganda

If you drive around Cairo today, you’ll find plenty of similar propaganda: soldiers holding children, a child with a flower, and many more.

12. Turning over the page to a bright future

Propaganda from 1956

This piece of propaganda shows a man with the Egyptian Eagle on his arm turning over the page to a bright future that hails “justice,” “democracy,” “elections,” and the “military”. The previous page included feudalism, imperialism, and traditionalism. Did Egypt achieve democracy and elections? Well…

13. The Star of the East

Om Kalthoum’s funeral in 1975

When Om Kalthoum died in 1975, heartbreak erupted across Egypt, the Arab World and the globe. Decades after her death, she is still regarded as the greatest female Arabic singer in history.

14. The Cairo Swimsuit Competition

A newspaper article on the Cairo Swimsuit Competition in 1948

For a woman in Egypt to wear a swimsuit these days, she has to be at a private beach, a private pool, or at a private residence. Imagine what would happen if we re-introduced the Cairo Swimsuit Competition.

15. Who needs Coca-Cola when we have ‘Egypt Cola!’

Egyptian Cola Advertisement: 100% Egyptian
Egyptian Cola Advertisement: 100% Egyptian

At some point in history, Egypt was not only producing cars and appliances, but also its own version of Coca-Cola.

16. Clearly, Coca-Cola won

Actress Magda in a Coca-Cola ad in 1952

‘Egypt Cola’ no longer exists: we now have Coca-Cola and Pepsi!

17. The First Arab Car

Ramsees – the first Egyptian and Arab car in 1954

Like the Coca-Cola, Egypt also decided to produce automobiles. While the industry did not end up surviving, it does show the potential future economic capabilities of Egypt.

18. Who is our beauty queen?

A 1956 Beauty Competition
A 1956 Beauty Competition

This is an interesting article. It proclaims “Seven Queens in the Republic!” We rarely hear of Miss Egypt these days. In 1954, Miss Egypt Antigone Costanda won the coveted Miss World title.

19. Soap, please?

An advertisement for soap in 1960 in the city of Tanta

Have you been to Tanta recently? If someone were to replicate this advertisement today, it would likely be torched.

20. This isn’t a desert: it’s Cairo

A photograph of two women talking at Mukattam (Cairo) in 1948

Cairo was not always a concrete jungle.

21. Vogue

Vogue model Tatjana Patiz at a Cafe in Cairo in 1992
Vogue model Tatjana Patitz at a Cafe in Cairo in 1992

The early 1990’s were perhaps Egypt’s last few ‘good’ years before rapid economic and social deterioration. While this does not show much, it is an enjoyable photograph of a world-wide famous model, Tatjana Patitz, enjoying herself with some locals at a cafe.

22. The beacon of light

Cairo University in 1960
Cairo University in 1960

Education in Egypt in the mid 1900’s was considered to be among the best in the world, and especially in the Arab world. Queens, Kings, Princes and Princesses would all travel to Egypt for education.

23. Some things never change

A Marlboro ad from 1960s

If there is one thing that has not changed, it’s Egypt’s smoking culture. The biggest shift has been the move away from cigarettes and towards shisha. However, Egyptians are still known for their smoking habits decades after this advertisement.

BONUS: Is that a…camera?

A 1951 magazine page
A 1951 magazine page

(Many of these photographs are available thanks to ‘Vintage Egypt.’ Click here to see more)

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  • Truth

    Egypt really declined culturally and socially. It is quite shocking, especially as Alexandria was one of the great cities of the world not that long ago. People from Italy, Greece, France and even Eastern Europe immigrated in droves to Alexandria to seek a better life.

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  • Robiul Islam

    To be honest the demographic of Egyptians sampled in the above snapshots seem highly unrepresentative. All I got out of this picture session was that Egypt was racially European [“white”], before it got “destroyed” by darkies and Islam. The women and men are not just Westernised, they are white•. The images could have been lifted from a 50s American catalogue, and nobody would know the difference except for the script used.

    It’s one thing to indicate that Egypt in the old days was more liberal, quite another to use the unpalatable conflation with race. That somehow “peaceful, serene, modern and utopia” all correlate with, and are caused by, whiteness. That media brainwashing is subtle but rather off-putting, once illuminated.

    But it does lead me to ask the natural question → were Egypt’s elite class more racially white in the 1950s and 60s than they are today? To what degree have political changes impacted the economic fortunes of this elite class? These would be interesting questions to explore ▬ sans the distorted media propaganda [in either direction].

    • Antigone Costanda is of Greek descent, for instance. Runner-up was

    Marina Papaelia, another Greek. How representative are either of these ladies to the demographic majority of Egyptians? I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be there. Just that the beauty standards are part of an overall package of media designed to conflate “whiteness” with beauty and goodness.

    • Expat

      Of course this is right. Life is most lifeworthy where the “white mans” rules do rule!
      The societies of “the white man” are the most developed in technical and in terms of social and human liberties and rights on this Earth. That’s why everyone what’s to live there. So, very rightful, they become and ideal for many people. Just as in these pictures!

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  • Debbie Pineau

    What a sin and a shame that everything seemed so normal back then and now it’s a mess. Hopefully things will change for the better and soon.

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  • George W

    The history of Egypt, not spam.

  • VladTepesDracul

    What happened THERE can and WILL happen HERE if Obama and his advisors have their way.

  • Jairaj Ramanujam

    I only wish that Egypt goes back to the past, itn was beautiful.

  • Kristalia

    I grew up listening to Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters (which take place in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s) and have wanted to visit that Egypt ever since I was 10 (20 years ago) but I would never dare go the the Egypt of today.

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  • Ismail Farid

    Shame that a lot of the comments seem to revolve around whether or not women used to wear a veil, while no one really paid attention as to how much women were empowered back then, and how classy everyone looked, even those guys in a galabeya that are playing backgammon and smoking sheesha. The advert with the woman on a Vespa, the women’s rally in Assuit, the woman using the camera and taking photos… All those are images of how strong women were back. I would stop worrying about veil or not veiled and start worrying about what being a woman means now days compared to back then. @disqus_rQrUE5vVds:disqus we are considered backwards because we allowed our civil behaviours to deteriorate below any acceptable point. And I don’t agree with you about harassment in poor areas and poor economic conditions. This goes down to upbringing and how we treat and perceive each other as equal human beings. USA isn’t the best comparison either. Fact of the matter is, we let ourselves become the laughing stock of the Arab world – we are a nation empty of any morals and ethics. You can’t even walk down a simple street without feeling angry, disgusted or sad. Cities build parks and make building look beautiful not because they feel like it. But it makes citizens happy and proud and lifts their morales. Yet we devolved from a great country with beautiful gardens. buildings and monuments to a nation that simple sad on itself surrounded by a brick and brown concrete jungle that will score close in points when compared to a garbage dump. Shame on Egyptians and what they have done to this country.

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  • Sofronitsky80

    saudi arabia has given more than 100 billion dollars in last 40 years to the religious fundamentalists for vahhabi propaganda. secular forces in turkey egypt or anywhere cannot resist such unfair competition.. still in saudi arabia is big supporter of islamist akp in turkey e.g.

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  • Sarah Ismail

    Does no one else find it disturbing that this article regards the old era as better because it was more Western? The people in the pictures look white. The effects of colonialism are the same in Egypt, India, etc. It enabled people to hate the color of your skin, hate your hair, eyes, clothing, etc. I have issues with considering hijab as being “backward” or the opposite of progress.
    Being Muslim or fully clothed doesn’t mean that you are more prone to harassing others. One of the most important problems in Egypt which results in higher harassment rates is that economic opportunity is lacking and men feel that the only way to prove their manhood is to be misogynistic. Same goes for the USA, in poorer communities, you find harassment much more prevalent. The USA is also a misogynistic culture and most people here don’t cover.
    Blaming Egypt’s overpopulation and economic troubles on “Islam” is silly.

    • Expat

      Unfortunately , the cancer of islam spreads easily in overpopulated and economic troubled countries.
      And yes, the old era definitely was better for everyone, colored or white, with exception of the mullah-monsters. No one cared for what these backward morons had to say in those days.

      • Plast0000

        hello, IK that I’m replying to an old comment but it stole my attention…
        it’s not Islam’s fault, it’s the fault of those who prefer to live in the 14th of century, but it’s not Islam’s fault, and it’s not mine (I’m a Muslim btw, I greet you from Egypt), as you see, it was widespread during that “golden” era.
        but they are not the only ones to blame, we should also blame those who don’t care or give a damn about the country’s politics anymore, and those who do are not really willing to do actions (not very accurate, they did DO actions in 2011 and 2013 and this year when the government decided to give Tiran and Sanafir to SA) but they need to do more than just removing a corrupt president (or the dumb president that followed him), they need to control the country’s fate themselves and return it to what you see in those pics (and better)

        • Expat

          How fun, when people look at old comments! Well, I have to disagree, sir.
          Islam, to my opinion, should be wiped of, yes eradicated from the soil of this Earth as an never ending source for cruel evilness, repression and destruction.
          There is nothing good about it and every country, every man and woman and every child would prosper enormously be it wiped of on the spot. Just like cancer!
          To replace it with another religion would be as easy as anything: Atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism or Shintoism – they are all thousandfold more compatible with a society of freedom for the individual with the prospect of developing welfare and equalness.
          This is the first thing you can do for your poor country if you want a development for the better: get rid of islam!
          (The second thing, by the way, is birth control).

          • Plast0000

            I disagree with what you say
            Muslims CAN live with people with other religions, including Christians and Jews
            They did in Egypt and they did during the middle ages when the Caliphates were still there (probably not the Ottoman but the earlier ones)… the Islamic Caliphates were developed (very) during their times (called the golden age, read about it)

            What’s really wrong is that what I forgot to add in my previous comment, the lack of education and the lack of proper raising during childhood, that’s where it all started to happen, give a society proper education and it will give you respectable people who achieve, deprive a society from education and you will get isis (or crusaders)…

            Islam is a source of terror? interesting, we have verses in Quran that opposes terrorism, maybe isis are holding the book upside down, I noticed that they nearly do the exact opposite of Islam’s teaching,
            It even appears in their black flag in that white circle (Allah rasoul Mohammed), it means that Mohammed is the God which is completely false, it should be (Mohammed rasoul Allah) which means that Mohammed is God’s prophet not the opposite.
            They kill people (both Muslims and non Muslims, Muslim casualties are higher btw), despite Quran ordering not to do so and stating that killing a person is like killing the entire humanity.
            They force others to convert, even when the Quran said not to do so

            There shall be no compulsion in the religion. “[2:256]

            I may find you quoting that verse
            “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth , (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” [9:29]

            here’s it’s explanation

          • Expat

            Sir, Islam is green coloured fascism.

            You should read your fellow countryman Hamed Abdel-Samad’s excellent and bestselling, very explanatory book „Islamic fascism“ where he shows the obvious similarity between the darkest political ideologies of the last century and islam.

            It’s all the same just in different periods of time: You never live WITH fascism or islam, either you subordinate to it or be punished severely or even killed. You have to accept blackmail (jizya) and other kind of oppression. Just in the way as you let us know with your link. It’s a disgrace!

            By the way, talking of jizya: I don’t know of any special religious taxes put on islam-believers in Europe or America? Do you? (But maybe we should – as the problems with this crap-religion-ideology costs us so much money).

            No, the problem is NOT some idiots misunderstanding islam. The problem is that this hole religion is crap and should be rejected on behalf of its malfunction. And what ISIS and other madmen do is just in accordance to ordinary mainstream wahhabism islam, just as Al Qaida is. We all know that.

            The so called bloody Quran – a mess of a book that is an true insult to every intelligent human in being completely inconsistent and mostly unreadable.
            Not is it only a collection of a badly read, misunderstood and perverted Bible texts combined with other stories from this time, it is also a falsification by the brutal followers of this religions founder the genuinely evil man Mohammed and the source of so much misery over the world. Oppression of and violence to women, anti-semitism, violence in general and the call for intellectual limitation and degradation is its essence. The only thing new about the hole crap is this bloody Mohammed saying that HE is the prophet of his ruler of darkness, Allah. That’s the ONLY new thing about it – it’s so ridiculous!

            It can only be overruled by the rubbish of the sunna and the hadith, where even more disgusting violence, child-rape, murder, preferably of jews, homophobia and slave stories of this little primitive, illiterate desert bandit with epileptic seizures, Mohammed, (may thousand flies infest his armpits and a-hole) are put into words.

            And there is more to it: rules and rules and rules for every piss and fart, clean or unclean, haram, halal, taqyyia-lies, explanatory tricks like the Medina-Mohammed the Mekka-Mohammed and so on and so on. Shit over shit!

            I say: let’s puke on it all and flush it down the drain.

            This our World URGENTLY needs to be cleaned of this evil and false fascist ideology disguised as a religion.

            No, we do not need any islam of ANY kind. It is the true born enemy of every civilisation development!

            Renounce islam and fight islam!!! Let’s get rid of it now!

          • Plast0000

            I don’t really know much about fascism and I’m really not interested in that sort of thing, but I may see that whenever I have free time.
            and I don’t agree with that “you can’t live with a Islam” thing
            here in Egypt, Copts live with Muslims, I “a Muslim” do have some Christian friends, whom I love to chat with, we used to have Christian neighbors (they moved out to a new better place in the upper-class areas), my mother loved to chat with them, they meet and talk almost daily , even after leaving, they still call each other on the phone from time to time.
            if everyone MUST follow it as you say, then why the hack were there still Christians and Jews in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and other places post the fall of the Caliphates? all of them would’ve been converted during the middle ages.

            Muslims DO pay a religious tax it’s called “zakat”, and God promises those who don’t pay it that they’ll be punished (unless that were poor, then they can get away with it), you think that Jizya is bad? well, when a non-Muslim pays it, he’s free to not join the military to protect the country in case of invasion, but Muslims got to jump in even after paying the zakat.
            and I think that you should enforce the zakat on them, afterall, it’s written in the Quran that you hate so much that we MUST, otherwise, we face the consequences, and I’m sure that they will happily participate, since that want it’s rules to be applied.

            the problem is that there are those who misunderstand it, the proof is that reply of yours. (and isis)

            why are there similarities between the bible and Quran?
            the answer is simple but it may not convince you at all, it’s because both books are from the same origin, the difference is that Quran survived with it’s original texts, while the bible had innovations by people, in here they prefer the original text from God to other text that was written by human beings.
            btw you ever noticed something funny? most of the extremism came from the Arabian peninsula, let’s go back to the past about 1500 years or something, extremism did exist in there even before the so called evil Mohammed, Arabs used to fight over the dumbest things, I heard that some wars between tribes lasted for 40 years, they still do even in our present time, it’s probably something that runs in the veins, tbh it runs in the veins of the entire humanity, but it’s eradicated using something that they missed 1500 years ago and what isis misses today, it’s called “education”, the majority of Arabs back then could not read nor write, they mostly worked as traders and Shepherds

            if you really think that Mohammed was evil, then you actually don’t know who he is (except his name maybe) I won’t lie to you about it, if he was bad, I’ll admit that he was a bad person, I recommend that you go and read about him, but don’t do that in these websites that you got your info about Islam from, since they told you that a very small tax (about 1 – 2.5% from a person’s annual income, he pays it and he’s free not to join the army is considered blackmailing) they will do nothing except fueling your hate gauge.

            ” violence, child-rape, murder, preferably of jews” , that’s the late Ottoman empire you’re talking about here, again go and read about him (NOT from the sites that you got your info from).

            what I’m going to talk to you about is that “child rape thing”, I heard alot about it and it actually drives me sick, Aisha was 21 years old when she was Married to Muhammed, not 8 as that fake hadith made by a pedophile “scholar” claims, some scholars create things out of their own and say that Mohammed said so, even so he did not, so that they can justify the wrongs that they may had done (or maybe doing right now), or to simply brainwash and mind control other people, Aisha was Born before Mohammed left Makkah to Medina by 18 years, and they married on the second year of Hijra (after leaving Makka to Medina by 2 years)

            “And there is more to it: rules and rules and rules for every piss and
            fart, clean or unclean, haram, halal, taqyyia-lies, explanatory tricks
            like the Medina-Mohammed the Mekka-Mohammed and so on and so on. Shit over shit!”

            I don’t know what you wanted to say here tbh

            “Renounce islam and fight islam!!! Let’s get rid of it now!”
            well, have fun

    • Youssef

      It’s not “western”, it’s civilised. We just adopted the backwards islamic culture while the west remained civilised.

      • Sun

        No. It’s Western. It’s Eurocentrism easing into the rest of the world. Because the West was in it’s [ending] golden age and that expanded outwards to more primitive peoples.

    • Master

      Sarah Ismail, “the USA is a misogynistic culture” lol, what are you talking about! American women have more rights than anyone else in the world, the problem with Egypt is the 30 years of Sadat’s and Mubarak’s corruption and injustice lead to popular revitalization of extremist religious fanatics and terrorists from the dark ages , it is obvious that people looked much more decent and behaved more ethically and morally in these days than the religious extremity of today, .

      • Between the Lines

        “American women have more rights than anyone else in the world”….Hahahaahaha….you are very funny Master Baby

      • Bob Bono

        I agree with Master %100. The corruption of Sadat’s and his follower criminal Mubarak regimes with their stupid policies gave the bad guys the extremist ” religious” such as ” Muslim Brotherhood” which they are far away from the real Islam religion and they also get all helps from U.S.A, Iranians of Mullahs, some Arabian golf states, and Westerns like U.K to terrified Egyptians and other people in middle east. I wish the GOLDEN Time return back into Arab’s world where you can see the pure culture, art & preform art, peace, love, great places to visit and enjoy. Before Khomeini and his régime swept the area in1979, Middle east was a beautiful place to visit and enjoy every aspect. Very sad to see it today covering with bloods and destructions of every things.

    • VladTepesDracul

      It’s the brand of Islam currently sweeping over Islamic countries and infecting the rest of the world: violent, misogynistic, intolerant and hyperaggressive.

      • Plast0000

        we call it “wahhabism”

    • George W

      I though Egyptians were white.

      • Mark Mankarious

        Alot are really white with blond hair and blue eyes. I have green eyes and light brown hair and my sisters have blue eyes. Some are tanned with blue eyes which is one of my sisters, she has black hair and tanned skin but blue eyes. So ya egyptians are white/ tanned.

      • Plast0000

        I’m Caucasian but some parts of my skin turned light brown because of the very strong sun during summer (FEEL DAT VITAMIN D)

  • maitreyi13

    Was this cosmopolitan attitude an elitist/ trickle down phenom? I am trying to remember from school -this was the time when Nasser and Nehru and non-alignment were the rage, they were trying to modernize these ancient nations. India has similar western-looking ads and pics but the people in rural areas, middle classes never really stopped dressing/thinking in the traditional way.

    • Rasha

      true, my mom agreed to this

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  • Reblogged this on BadiaAlwer and commented:

  • Reblogged this on hlafy.

  • …. then Islam ruined it all.

    • Mohamed Nabil

      But these times the Country had the exact same % of muslims….. and actually the country was a cultural pot due to Islamic tolerance….. can we say you are full of shit?

      • Chavar

        It’s really complicated. Don’t beat each other up.

      • Expat

        Yes, that is a tragic point: that freedom and cultural diversity within society is dependent on what state of art islam for the moment is.

      • W. B.

        Let’s face it. Religion has always done far more harm than good. An enlightened and progressive society is a Godless society.

      • Sun

        LOL. No. Because you don’t understand shit. That’s why you can be such a moron and simply pull % of Muslims rather than understanding the way society and societies across the world work subliminally. This is due to the West and European influence on such people.

  • Reblogged this on middle east revised.

  • Egypt has a bright future.

  • Reblogged this on jantamedicalararia and commented:

  • (▰˘◡˘▰)

    Mind boggling to compare to the Egypt of today, but inspiring as well. It makes me hopeful for the future.

  • Really it is sad that Egypt has changed. Revolution us needed here.

  • Reblogged this on sarahdahab's Blog.

  • nice collections

  • One of the great cultures of the world.

  • what a difference between night and day! Thank you for sharing these contrasts. Considering the recent developments,it seems to me that the Egyptian people are stuck between a rock and a hard place. truly a sad state. somehow, the implications inherent in the photos made me think of Detroit. The circumstances are so different, yet the loss so similar.

    • Not sure one can agree here. To my knowledge Detroit’s deal is mostly economic. Egypt’s is also social and political. Both sad nonetheless

      • Detroit’s present plight is not only economics, but deeply social and political as well. Well stated, both situations are indeed sad.

  • this is Amazing!!! <3

  • wonderful

  • great photos! Love the work ^__^

  • Gud info

  • Really nice!!

  • Very interesting post. Curious to know how you sourced the images, they’re great!

    • The owner of scanned most of these images and uploaded them online!

  • Very impressive photos.

  • How amazing! Sad to see the de-volution de-progress… hope someday it will get to a place of what it used to be or better!

  • nice post tnk

  • sue

    Amazing post thank you ! I lived in Egypt till 1999 and it was so peaceful and beautiful country. The Egyptian people should ask for a change, to build the country and to stop the regression to look out for the rest of the world, not only fanatics ! They freeze and the rest of the world is advancing in every aspect of live. We should catch up and keep moving towards Education and civilized Egypt, so it will restore its real and original identity.

  • Thankyou for sharing this photos, it’s absolutely fascinating.

  • mujdatkarakoc

    bu nedir

  • Reblogged this on This End Up and commented:
    This is nice to see but also sad! So much change (for the worse) has ocurred.

  • Rey

    Reblogged this on Saffarny ®.

  • Reblogged this on Ola Slizankiewicz.

  • M-R

    I don’t understand at all … I thought that what you write of would be the case under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood; but they are no longer calling the shots. Are you saying that even under a military coup, this kind of fundamentalism is everywhere ???

    • Ahmad Zaky

      Yes, they are no longer ruling, but the Current Mess is everyone’s mistake, starting from the Great Anwar Sadat’s little mistake (Releasing the imprisoned Islamic Terrorists & Jihadists in 70s), Egypt has been plagued since that very moment.
      Military Coup ?!?! – I advise you take the word from an Egyptian living currently in Egypt, and there is no military coup here, and I can safely assure that 80% (if not more) of egyptians say/think the same … This Current mess is not going to be cleaned overnight, Let’s just hope my Grandchildren can witness a Civilized Developed Egypt !!!

      • M-R

        Oh, I hope so !!! Such a great and historical country …

  • i can’t believe there was much more freedom those days in egypt! look what happens now…

  • Reblogged this on My Daily Shout.

  • Wafik Kelliny

    “Those were the days my friend”. I guess I was blessed to witness Egypt during the good days. For sure most of us hope Egypt will restore its real and original identity. Are we asking for much?
    May God bless Egypt!

  • Pingback: 23 Vintage Photos of Egypt’s Golden Years | Home that We Built()

  • Amazing post thank you ! I visited Cairo in the 90s and enjoyed the experience, I am an optimist and he things. Will move towards a better place….they did in France.

  • Cool. Yup, it’s not quite like that anymore…


  • Thank you from sherbrooke canada,much loved link

  • These photos make me happy 🙂

  • Democracy is not something the Western World want to impose on the East. It is the mean by which it became so powerful. Don’t be afraid to copy it.

  • It looks that Egypt of the pharaonis era was better then this one that we see now

  • Oh! How times have changed.

  • This is thought-provoking and saddening. Thanks for researching the images and posting.

  • I should take more photos of people. This best encapsulates a story of people. And their aspirations of a better future. Much has happened in Egypt in recent times, I am definite that the Egyptians will hurdle any challenge that comes their way in their effort to build a beautiful life for everyone in their nation-state.

  • What the hell happened to us!

  • Reblogged this on KNAGUI and commented:
    Very cool post that satisfies my love of history & photography.

  • How lovely to see! My grandmother was born in Egypt and lived through some of those golden years before having to move with the whole family to England in the late 50s.

  • Superb post! Had never known such an Egypt existed. An eye-opener for me. Hope the era is back and in a much more splendid form.

  • Fantastic article – it’s always great to get another perspective on Egypt and it’s past. My visit to Egypt was year was certainly an eye opener, and the opinions of the Egyptian people were pretty interesting to hear as well – their take on women in particular was incredible. Numbers like 2, 4 and 14 now? You’ve gotta be kidding! It’s really so sad.. Still a beautiful country which I’d happily visit again!

  • The pictures are kind of shocking for someone who does not know about Egypt in the early 1900s. But after reading a few comments, it seems like it was not all that rosy as the pictures suggest.

    But a few things which impacted me are the swimsuit competition which is surprising for me that it existed more than 60 years back, Egypt’s own car named ‘Ramses’ and never knew an Egyptian was crowned Miss World title.

    There is no denying the Egyptian Engineering marvel of yesteryear with proof in form of the great Pyramids in Giza and the Spinx. Give the people a bit more freedom and they will do more. Egypt still houses half of Africa’s Billionaires (I hope I am right). All they need is a a responsible Government.

  • Reblogged this on Writer Meets World and commented:
    Then and now for #Egypt. As a Pakistani, I’ve often seen similar blog posts and images about Karachi. This post about Egypt just seemed to reinforce the message: equality, justice and freedom to live our lives should never be compromised.

  • Thank you for sharing these. Egypt was a bright star and whether or not a country is Islamic or liberal the values of equality, justice and freedom for all should never be compromised. These vintage photos reminded me of that and I hope that they remind others as well.

  • Such a lovely and interesting collection . Egypt used to have charme , indeed . Thank you for sharing .

  • Whats notable is that there is not one headscarf….. ?

    • Youssef

      Exactly. Hence the golden age.

  • krisma.adiwibawa

    Reblogged this on Apollo and the muses and commented:
    So different from egypt nowadays.

  • Excellent article!

  • Times change yet we seem to be going backwards. Crazy.

  • How fascinating. And that’s what we call progress…
    Would love to visit Egypt again with my daughter. Nervous about events there and how the country is portrayed in the media.

  • Reblogged this on Maps & Rubies.

  • Reblogged this on Egyptology in the 21st century and commented:
    A great blog about historic images of Egypt.

  • fj’aime

  • I really enjoyed your blog. How did you get the Benzion department store picture?

  • claudi

  • Anonymous

    اعجبتني جميع الصور شكرا لناشرها

  • hawa

    “golden years”? … almost all the half naked women in the pictures, that are being praised and apparently are a “proof for better times” are white and at least upper class – I can goto nadi al-gezira today and make pictures of the women in swimming suits there… (and just note the picture of the umm Kulthum funeral – how many women do you see there?)
    I don’t really understand how sexualising and displaying womens bodies like in the coke add is more “advanced”. I think this page, and how it constructs modernity is one of many very good examples of the hegemonic narrative of european-ness being modern – yes this critique seems to be becoming worn off, but obviously it never looses it’s up to date-ness.
    How can we get annoyed at sexist H&M posters in Europe and at the same time praise this exploitation of a womans body as modern and desirable culturally?
    this is not a plead for chastity but i think a discussion on modernity cannot depart from this point.
    … my favourite one i think, are “the egyptian female revolutionaries” i.e. female soldiers – oh that’s very feminist! in fact each one of the pictures with it’s individual two sentenced caption poses an interesting shade of propaganda.

    • Yorgo

      When goldfish are kept in a bowl they can only value water. They cannot value the objects in the room.

  • hawa

    “golden years”? … almost all the half naked women in the pictures, that are being praised and apparently are a “proof for better times” are white and at least upper class – I can goto nadi al-gezira today and make pictures of the women in swimming suits there… (and just note the picture of the umm Kulthum funeral – how many women do you see there?)
    I don’t really understand how sexualising and displaying womens bodies like in the coke add for example is more “advanced”. I think this page, and how it constructs modernity is one of many very good examples of the hegemonic narrative of european-ness being modern – yes this critique seems to be becoming worn off, but obviously it never looses it’s up to date-ness.
    How can we get annoyed at sexist H&M posters in europe and at the same time praise this exploitation of a womans body as modern and desirable culturally?
    this is not a plead for chastity but i think a discussion on modernity cannot depart from this point.

    • Expat

      Dear Mr Hawa (your writing makes me presume you´re male),
      “better times” are times, when a woman western style dressed can cross the Tahrir square without being harassed, or even worse, raped. Now, when do you think was the “better time” to do this, in 1965 or 2015?
      I think, there is god evidence to call the 50s and 60s Egypts “Golden Years”.
      And where on earth do you get this “sexualizing” thing from in the Coke add? A well dressed lady sipping a Coke! Are you some kind of fetichist?

  • Zainab elberry

    Democracy not hupocracy is what Our
    Beloved Egypt needs lets continue to
    Do it may the pyramid rise soon

    • Anonymous

      Easy to understand, my dear Hawa!

      In what is called “the West”, the woman have gained a lot of rights, and among them the right to her own body and the right to be considered for what she is, i.e. a full-fledged human being standing equal to men.
      She can walk into a police station and report rape without being considered as “prime responsible for what happened to her”. She can decide what to wear, who to give herself to, when to marry or to divorce, to run for president, lead a campaign, win the elections and rule.
      She can decide what to study, apply to whatever job she thinks she can cope with, sue her employer and win, sue any male (family or not) who harrases her… Etc. Etc. And, often if not always fully supported by men, fight against her body and charms being used in poster ads in the streets.
      As for the woman in “our kinda countries”, at least in the “bourgeoisie”, I think she was far more at ease in society “in those days” than she is nowadays. She was much less submissive and much less looked down upon by the general male society. And she felt sooooo much more free to wear the bathing suit she liked instead of bathing fully clad as happens nowadays.
      In “our kinda countries”, the woman has fallen back to the ages where she was mere property for men to deal with as they pleased, she was passed on from father to spouse like a piece of furniture, with only one option : obey.
      So I can fully understand that while the Western woman is irritated at the use of her half naked body to sell cars or insurance, the woman in “our kinda countries” can look back with nostalgia at the days when she could wear a bikini and not be considered a whore!
      Let us hope that one day soon, the woman in “our kinda countries” will have all of those rights gained by the Western woman and will be fighting against poster ads displaying half naked women to sell cars, coffee, insurance and what have you ! Some of “our kinda countries” are still soooo far from it, and the woman there is still fighting for her right to drive her own car for f… sake!!!
      So, let’s beware and not indulge into mismatched comparisons, mixing times, arguments and cultures for the sole sake of promoting point of view.

      • michael athanassiou

        very wise opinion I admire you

  • Anonymous

    Saad Zaghloul and Anouar Sadate ounce said :”Mafish Faiida”

  • Jocelyne

    What a lovely SOUVENIR!!!!! Take me back to Cairo !!!!! Those were the days !!!!! ( two famous songs )… Do you think we can go back ?????? or at least smell a slight improvement ?????
    In fact Nasser wanted to do a nice job,first he was rejected from USA and turned to the USSR, second a great patriotic men full of great ideas and third but not the least was surrounded by bad and specially LIERS consultants who made him crazy. Liers this is the KEY of Egypt everybody lies !!!!!! no one tells the truth !!!!!!no one knows what is going on !!!!
    90 million how can reeducate or implement democracy ????
    Focus 2 things
    1 like China Birth Control
    2 Schools: implement a diiferrent education based on truth, eliminate religion,

    Those were the days my friends with the Jews, Italian Greek, Muslim, Christian , Armenian etc….

  • M.A.C.

    As other bloggers have already mentioned, all was not rosy in Egypt in the 1950s. On the other hand, maybe because the extremist were incarcerated, society was not split as it is today. Nasser had the right idea and I admire him greatly for his vision but he tried to proceed too fast. Even though the changes he brought ultimately chased away almost all Greeks from Egypt, I do acknowledge he was a great man and a true patriot. Thankfully my family left later on in the 1970s but I still feel the pain of leaving my beloved Cairo. I have been visiting the city since the the 1990s and have observed the deterioration. I also experienced first-hand the elation and hope and optimism of ordinary Egyptians in 2011. Suddenly, they had a voice, they had opinions! It was wonderful… But I cannot say I am optimistic about the immediate future of the country. The people had a chance to make the first baby steps to democracy but were unable to organize and… well no need to describe what we all know happened. I think another cycle of “non-democracy” is starting and who knows how long it is going to last?

  • vladwe

    Well, there were many troubles, which degraded Egypt’s chances to become a good country for its people. One is Nasser’s Socialist madness, which was just as good for the people as it was EVERYWHERE else. Then it was his love affair with an aggressive Soviet Union, the main tradition of which was that human life was very cheap. Then it was his unhinged antisemitism, an old and destructive mental condition, which still persists in Egypt and gains speed in the Western World too. What good did that do to the Egyptian people? Another problem that might make Egyptians and their many friends pause is the demographic explosion. Around 1835, when Hans Christian Andersen went on a cultural tour of the Mediterranean, Egypt and Denmark had the same population: approx. 3.5 mill. Now Egypt is on the far side of the 80 mill., while Denmark is at approx. 5.5. That must be the no. 1 priority for al Sisi, if he wins and if he has the desire and the wisdom needed to bring prosperity to his fellow Egyptians. The second priority must be ending the antisemitic/anti Israel madness, which cannot bring anything but misery to the Egyptians and to Arabs in general. The third must be a profound reform of the bureaucracy and encouragement of industry, modern agriculture, tourism, and education.
    When I was a kid, many years ago, Egypt was famous not only for the unique ancient monuments, but also for its cigarettes and its cotton. Both were the best in the world. Today Egypt is famous for internal disputes and poverty. It does not have to be that way.

    • Jim Bean

      What do you mean by “antisemitism…gains speed in the Western World too” ?? Certainly not true.

      • vladwe

        You, Sir, are entitled to your opinion. I am to mine.

      • Of course it’s true, generally disguised as anti-zionism these days. Look at the grief Israel gets at the UN compared to the lack of criticism for it’s neighbours for far worse. Look at the Jews having to leave France and Sweden. Look at the fashionable boycotts of Israel and the lie spread about that Israel is an apartheid state.

  • Passing-by

    This is beautiful, but at that time how was living the egyptian people? Were there lots of egyptians that bought Vespas, or went speedo-swimming to the beach?

    Please, do not compare the time when people struggled to eat while the bourgeoisie swaggered around on Vespas and today… I’m not saying everything is better, but don’t romanticize the mid 50s Egypt of the bourgeoisie and the diplomats..

    • michael athanassiou

      dear passing by,
      in the 60,s more than 50% of my class at the French college in Cairo were Egyptians, the were entertaiment for all class of society , the poor ,the middle class, and the rich, not all foreiners were rich ,but at the end of the day every body had food on their table,,love, and happiness, and never killing each other for religion or politics
      unless you lived in that era you will never imagine how was Egypt society
      the history and picture of Egypt in the 50s and 60s can not lied,
      all the movies will give you and idea about the Egyptian societies ,when greeks ,Italians ,and even jews use to act together.

  • Reblogged this on Aylak Kadının Yazı Defteri.

  • Anonymous

    The problem with Nasser – who I think was an honest man who loved his country and wanted to serve it, not like all his successors… – is that he did not understand that, in order to put a country on the path of development, you need to teach the people how to think, not what to think. And you need to organize education in a way that teaches open-mindedness and tolerance, not stereotyped thinking and intolerance.

    True, Nasser had to face several huge challenges, but unfortunately he did not have the education and culture it took to help craft innovative and efficient solutions. For example, instead of mobilzing all Egyptians as one people to work towards progress, he discouraged all the well educated and capable people through the implementation of stupid bureaucracy, and he forced most of them out of the country.

    These people are now all obver the world, in Europe, the US, Australia, Canada, instead of contributing to the well-being of their beloved Egypt! Among them all the Greeks, Italians, Armenians, jews, etc. who lived in the country for generation after generation and who considered it their beloved homeland.

    All the men who came to power after Nasser carrried on with the same shortcomings. And to understand today’s fanatism, one has to question Nasser’s behaviour and limited scope, as well as the behaviour and limited scope of all the rulesr wo followed.

    Besides, in order to stand a chance of catching up, in the long run, with the developped world, Egypt as well as all the other Middle-Eastern countries will definitely need to separate State and religion, implement freedom of speech, thought, expression, faith, etc. They will also need to respect human rights and consider women as equal to men as far as general human rights and citizenship are concerned.

    • michael athanassiou

      very well put, you are really an ex Egypt patriot ,but we still love Egypt
      Michael, Sydney , Australia

    • Master

      No one is perfect, Nasser had no choice but to revert to socialism because the West antagonized him yet his true and initial intention was democracy but the west does not want Egypt to become a democratic country they want Egypt to remain autocratic so they can push their agendas on Egypt through one man only…even though, Nasser had a lot more good deeds than negative ones.

      • Bob Bono

        I agree with one is perfect and specially leaders who are working for their people and country. The west did not want Nassir complete his progress and they believed he was dangerous for their plan and agenda. look now to Iraq, what Bush-Chaney-Obama did to Iraq after the unjustified invasion in 3003? Iraq went from one of the most progressive country in middle east to the feller country especially when Obama pull out the American troops out of Iraq 2011 and gave the country to his Iranian Mullahs friends instead to give Iraq to its own people.

    • Bob Bono

      Nassir was truly Egyptian nationalist who worked very hard to built Egypt, that is why Egypt enemies started the war in 1967 to destroyed his progress for his country. You’re not fair with your judging. Nassir built universities, agricultures system, high water Aswan dam, made Swiss canal Egyptian own company, encouraged the education and scientists to help building technology and constructions around the country, in his time the culture , art, music, Egypt cinema and theater was rocket to the moon! and much more. Please go back to his time history and read with two eye. Thank you

  • Reblogged this on Harry Darkins.

  • moofi

    This should be called “Australian Dorm Rooms” not “Egyptian STreets” This blog is run by some Australian out of his dormitory and he gets so many facts wrong regarding the images above I don’t know where to start.

  • Moneir elsawify

    Thank u for that I hope this days come back I just come back from Egypt and what I seen it break my heart to see Egypt that way Egypt was one of the most beautiful century and I don’t know what happens all the worlds went forward and Egypt went back vintage photos beautiful so thank u once more

  • As the many thousands of Italians . I also had and still have a great “nostalgia”- of the hospitality of the egyptian people!!! Though my life there was for only twelve years but far enough to be in love of that country. My last visit (3 years ago) of course gave a different idea of what Egypt was ONCE !!!!
    Arnaldo – Rome

    • Ismail Adly

      Thank you sir for loving our Egypt as you mentioned in your comment. After 60 years of dictetorship, Egypt suffered from ignorance, fanatism, lack of education, major health problems and all that lead to the revolution of January 2011. Unfortunatly, the Islamists took advange of the vacum created by dictorship and those Islamists were even worst than the military. We shall remain paying a huge price because of the Nasser era which created a political vacum which was used unfortunatly by the Islamists and fanatics and terrorist and criminals. Now we are going back to the military backed by the Egypt people because we hate the Islamists. But we are back to square one, we are back to the military and the 2011 revolution has been aborted. It seems that we have only two choices, either the Military or the Islamists. Nothing will change for the better in the future. We have lost Egypt that we loved in the past and for ever.
      My respects Sir and pls accept my best rgrds
      Ismail Adly
      64 years old

  • Jerry Jirair Kokorian

    We are so quick in blaming the late president Gamal Abdel Nasser for the changes in Egypt,yet nobody mentions how the super power of the day,conspired against him and forced him in the arms of the then USSR.Nasser was a great nationalist Arab,sometimes misguided he awakened the pride in the arab world,however in doing so he forgot that the arab world as we know itis not just arabs…many ethnic nationalities and by awakening the arab world,HE turned the locals against the minorities.As I was growing up in Cairo in the 50’s and 60’s there was not distinction between locals and ethnics ,there differences of course but not the way things are..The problem in Egypt today is poverty,unemployment and illiteracy….Unfortunately almost 60 per cent are illiterate and until this percentage is reduced and foreign interference is stopped the country [EGYPT] will suffer.

    • Ismail Adly

      Dear Sir
      I thank u for your love to Egypt. I am also sorry that you left Egypt – as I understood – after beeing considered a minority, that was a great mistake that was commited by the regim of Nasser. But I am sorry that I disagree with you about Nasser, I think that Egypt has paid a tremendous price because of his dictetorship and his reject to democracy. He was loved by millions of Egyptians and he could seize the historic moment to offer democracy to the Egyptians. It was his biggest mistake ever, and we are paying the price and will keep even in the future.
      My respects sir and pls accept my best rgrds
      Ismail Adly
      An Egyptian sitizen , 64 years old.

  • Aya A.R

    This article broke my heart..literally..
    Pre 1952 Egypt is something and Egypt nowadays is totally something else, this is just sad. And I do blame Abdalnasser, yes.

    • michael athanassiou

      I do agree with you as the downfall started with him in power ,

  • magdy

    Marvelous collection to see how much it is the mother of the world
    God bless this country
    Our Egypt.

  • Jerry Jirair Kokorian

    Thank you for the memories,took me back to my youth,

  • Anonymous

    This my Egypt I left in 1964,, god bless this country , I can not understand what is happening, are the new Egyptians so blind to compare the different between the past and the present, let hope the new generations will change thinks and take Egypt to a better future as all the greeks fom egypt who left in the 60<s are so depressed to see their natal country is driven to wrong direction while all the other countries in the world are improving their standard of living, equalities and liberties for women is very important in today society, Women can offer a lot in societies. Michael, Sydney Australia,
    the world still think that Egypt is OM al DOUNEA, and we greeks from Egypt were always proud to call Egypt is our natal home

  • Jim Francis

    That is the only Egypt I know and remember. I left Egypt more than 44 years ago. What a sad and backward change that took place in only 4 decades. I wonder what would happened to Egypt if those fanatic extremists have succeeded in taking over Egypt and returning it back 1400 years!!!

    • michael athanassiou

      we all feel the same way all greeks from egypt in Australia let hope new changes will happen soon. Michael Australia

  • Ahmedo

    Thanks to Hosny Mobarak

  • Reblogged this on Xpat Dive Guide and commented:
    Egypt in a different light and time…

  • lara


  • thetinfoilhatsociety

    Om Kalthoum may have been the greatest Arab singer ever. Her voice had character, emotion – things that are simply lacking in much of modern music. I have a very large collection of vintage Middle Eastern music, most of it Egyptian and it’s what I listen to more days than not when I want to listen to music.

    It saddens me to see the way Egypt used to be.

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