Step Back In Time: Explore Cairo’s 5 Authentic Historical Cafés

Manar Eissa

Cairo, Egypt, holds within its bustling streets a treasure trove of historical and authentic cafés, each steeped in rich cultural significance and adorned with stories of the past. From the aromatic scent of freshly brewed coffee to the lively chatter of patrons, these cafés offer a glimpse into the city’s vibrant heritage. Let’s embark on a journey through time as we explore some of Cairo’s most iconic café destinations.

5. Al-Fishawy Café

Nestled in the heart of the Al-Azhar district, Al-Fishawy Café stands as a testament to Cairo’s enduring legacy. Established in the year 1797 AD, it holds the distinction of being one of the oldest cafés in the city. Immortalized by the renowned Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz, who frequented its hallowed halls, Al-Fishawy Café served as a sanctuary for intellectuals, artists, and everyday individuals alike. Within its walls, Mahfouz found inspiration for his literary masterpieces, while friends and admirers gathered to share in the warmth of camaraderie.

📍Located in: Al-Azhar

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4. Al-Harafish Café

Steeped in tradition and elegance, Al-Harafish Café beckons to Cairo’s elite. Named after the “Harafish,” or the poor of Egyptian society during the Mamluk era, it attracts a clientele of esteemed artists, writers, and intellectuals. Known for its commitment to quality and excellence, Al-Harafish Café proudly displays signs advocating for health and responsibility, embodying a balance between indulgence and conscientiousness.

📍Located in: Al Giza, King Faisal Street

3. Groppi

Step back in time at Groppi, where European charm meets Egyptian hospitality. Founded in 1884 by Giacomo Gruppi, this café transcended its humble beginnings to become a cultural landmark in Cairo. Politicians deliberated over cups of tea, writers found solace amidst its bustling atmosphere, and intellectuals exchanged ideas beneath its ornate ceilings. As the backdrop to many iconic scenes in Egyptian cinema, Groppi continues to enchant visitors with its timeless allure.

📍Located in: Heliopolis

2. Zahret El Bostan Café

Adorned with graffiti murals that pay homage to Egypt’s literary luminaries, Zahret El Bostan Café is a living tribute to the country’s artistic heritage. Following the passing of the esteemed writer Makkawi Saeed, the café became a canvas for commemorating the intellectual giants who once graced its premises. With each brushstroke, a story unfolds, weaving together the threads of culture, art, and life.

📍Located in: Downtown, Abdeen

1. Riche Café

Built upon the ruins of Muhammad Ali’s palace, Rich Café exudes an air of grandeur and sophistication. Since its establishment in 1908 AD, it has been a hub for intellectuals and politicians from across the Arab region. Located near Talaat Harb Square, this esteemed café has played host to countless discussions and debates, shaping the course of history with each cup of steaming coffee.

📍Located in: Talaat Harb Square

Cairo’s historical and authentic cafés serve as more than just places to enjoy a cup of coffee; they are portals to the past, repositories of knowledge, and guardians of tradition. As these timeless establishments continue to thrive amidst the ebb and flow of modernity, they remind us of the enduring power of community, conversation, and connection.



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