Unexpected Cairo

Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art
So, one thing you can't miss is The Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, a platform for creative inquiry that supports artistic work through exhibitions, residencies for artists and curators, and educational initiatives. At Saturday mornings they organize a SAWA workshop, run by Mina Noshy. There is a different theme or medium to work with every week and the workshops are open to everyone, so a good opportunity to meet some local artists. After the workshop, visit Townhouse's library and see if there's an interesting exhibition going on in the gallery space.

The gallery is als very convenient for networking with Townhouse's residency artists. There is a constant flow of very interesting professional artists from all over the world. You get to experience a day in Cairo through the eyes of someone who is still fairly new to the city and has an individual approach to exploring Cairo. If there is time, you can do studio visits with a number of the artists who have studio spaces at Townhouse.

If you're interested in contemporary visual culture, go and take a tour of the Contemporary Image Collective (CIC). The CIC is an independent non-profit artist initiative founded in 2004 that focuses on the development of contemporary visual arts and culture in Egypt. Exhibitions, photography courses, film screenings, performances, lectures and workshops are held regularly at the CIC.

The Mashrabia Gallery of Contemporary Art has a pioneering role in the diffusion of Plastic Arts through Egyptian and foreign artists. They regularly host different artistic manifestations such as concerts, theater pieces, experimental films, poetic lectures, discussions and photography workshops. Go to Kazaz or GAD in Downtown for some food, they are closeby this gallery.

Rooftop Studios
Visit the Townhouse Gallery’s newest initiative located in Garden City called the Rooftop Studios. The 750 square meter space has eight rooms as well as two communal work areas; there are outdoor, indoor, and individual workspaces within. The studios accommodate artists working in mediums ranging from painting and installation to photography and video. There 10 artists have been given studio space. Visitors will be shown around by the project’s director Essam Abdallah.

More contemporary art...
To gain an overall perspective of the chaging context of the contemporary arts in Egypt it has been relevant for visitors to see the state run exhibitions spaces which are undergoing a considerable change in both attitude and direction: the Palace of the Arts on the grounds of the Cairo Opera House, the Agricultural Museum, October War Panorama, Museum of Islamic Art.

Out and about
After Eight
Carlton Hotel
Greek Club
Bistro Bar

Food for thought
For a more upmarket experience + character + history:
- Abu Sid
- Don Quixote
- Five Bells
- La Bodega
- Khan el Khalil Restaurant authentic Egyptian

Local food, simple:
- Kazaz Local food, sandwiches, soups
- Abo Tarek Koshary
- Fiteer Tahrir Fiteer
- GAD Local food, sandwiches

Old news
Khan Khalili / al-Azhar mosque / al-Hussein mosque
Egyptian Museum
Cairo Tower
Citadel of Salah al-Din

Rest your head
- Osiris
- Hotel Longchamps
- Carlton Hotel (for character over other advantages)
- There is a series of newly opened and extremely afforadable hotels around Talaat Harb Square, including the Cairo Inn, which also have free wifi

Getting around
Black and white Taxis: 6-10 LE (0.85–1.43 EUR)
Subway: 1 LE
Yellow Cabs/Cairo City Cabs: 150-200 LE one way to Alexandria
Food from street vendors: 1 – 2.5 LE


Alexandra Stock - Image provided by A. Stock