The City of the Dead: A History of Cairo's Cemetery Communities

Front Cover
Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997 - History - 135 pages


Home to some of the most impressive monuments of the Islamic world, Cairo's City of the Dead is also home to hundreds of thousands of Egypt's urban poor. This book presents a comprehensive look at this unique informal community, and includes biographies of some of the residents of the cemeteries.

This book presents a comprehensive look at one of the most unusual informal communities in the world. The City of the Dead is a group of vast Islamic cemeteries that have been the primary burial grounds for the city of Cairo for 1200 years. Within its borders are some of the most impressive monuments of the Islamic world. The City of the Dead, however, is also home to the living, as it was always an active part of the community of Cairo.

Qu'ran reciters and tombkeepers have always made their homes among the graves. The cemeteries have also been a popular destination for Islamic pilgrims seeking spiritual blessing, as well as thieves and runaways seeking refuge from the law. In more modern times, given the housing crisis that has plagued Cairo in the 20th century, the cemeteries have become the primary source of shelter for hundreds of thousands of otherwise homeless Egyptians. This community of people includes both rural migrants to Cairo and more established city dwellers. This book takes an in-depth look at these individuals' lives and introduces the reader to the life stories of some residents. The future of this unique community is also explored. An important work for students, scholars, and researchers of Egypt and the Islamic world.

 

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Contents

Introduction
xiii
The Physical and Social Growth of the Cemeteries
7
STORIES
24
Village without Fields
29
Fatima Ali The Black Sheep
33
The Modern Era Informal Housing in the City of the Dead
37
STORIES
74
His Generation
77
The Future of the City of the Dead
93
The Cleopatra Salesman
100
MOHAMED MOUSA Hatred of life and of the living
102
Hell on Earth
104
Conclusion
111
Glossary of Arabic Terms
119
Notes
121
Selected Bibliography
125

My First and True Home
80
MOHAMED life Politics and Sophia Loren
88

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Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 129 - Robert Anderson and Ibrahim Fawzy (eds.), Egypt in 1800: Scenes from Napoleon's Description de l'Egypte (London, 1988); Fernand Beaucour et al., The Discovery of Egypt, trans.

About the author (1997)

JEFFREY A. NEDOROSCIK is Deputy Executive Officer for the United States Agency for International Development's Mission to Rwanda. He studied the City of the Dead as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow.

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