Being on the top of a city like Cairo that has a vast area that is full of contradictions is quite an interesting experience. "This city looks quite different from above than what one see from bellow", this famous sentence was said by Adel Emam, one of the most famous Egyptian actors, in one of his movies describing Cairo is quite expressive as the city looks quite different from above, especially from the top of the Cairo Tower. Many tourists from all over the world especially the Arabs visit the Cairo Tower when they come to Egypt to enjoy the panoramic views the tower offers of the city of the thousand minarets.
The tower consists of 16 floors which were built on a huge Aswan granite base which the Pharos used to build fascinating temples and structures.
The Cairo Tower became one of the landmarks of Cairo now and it is considered an architectural germ built in the shape of the most important plant in the lives of the ancient Egyptians, the lotus, as a demonstration of the old Egyptian civilization.
The history of the Cairo Tower:
The Cairo Tower which is considered the only future monument of this era was built between the years 1956 and it was finished in 1961 with the help of more than 500 Egyptian workers. It designed by the Egyptian Engineer Na'oum Shobaib.
The Tower was built out of concrete iron and it has the shape of the famous Lotus plant that the ancient Egyptians used to produce papyrus. The length of the tower is 187 meters which 43 meters higher than the great pyramid of Cheapos. It is located in the middle of Cairo at the edge of the Zamalek Island.
The Cairo Tower was built in the reign of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the former Egyptian president and it cost 6 million pounds at the time it was built in the late 60s. This sum of money was given to the Egyptian government by USA to stop the Egyptians from supporting the Algerian apprising against the French occupation. This was why the Tower had two names: the American name "the fork in the back of Nasser" and the Egyptian name "stopping Roosevelt".
However, the six million pounds didn't affect the Egyptian attitude towards supporting other Arab nations and although Egypt needed that money immensely to rebuild its infrastructure, Nasser insisted to build the Cairo Tower with the American money to stand as a clear everlasting evident to the union Egypt has with the Arab world.
The restoration of the Tower:
The Cairo Tower went through a huge operation of restoration that lasted for two years from 2006 till 2008. The operation was implemented by Arab Contractors and it cost 15 million pounds. The work included restoring the iron body of the tower, emergency stairs, and a new elevator for the visitors, renewing the entrance of the tower, and renewing and painting the outer body of the tower.
The area of the Tower was extended to reach 400% of the old surface area which was used to reach 1145 meters by adding four new floors. This enabled the Cairo Tower to host 700 visitors in the same time instead of only 120 visitors. This is besides being lighted by a new (LED) system.
The Cairo Tower Today:
The ticket to visit Cairo Tower is 20 EGP for the Egyptians and 60 EGP for Non-Egyptians. The Cairo Tower offers amazing views of the Nile, different parts of Cairo, Saladin Citadel, the old campus of the American University, the Abdeen Palace, Qaser El Nile Bridge, Al Azhar Mosque, and even the pyramids can be seen uniquely from the Cairo Tower. There are also free telescopes at the top floor of the tower to enable visitors to explore Cairo in a totally different way.
At the top of the tower, there is a nice revolving restaurant that enables its visitors to see all the parts of Cairo. The restaurant contains 15 tables and offers a big variety of dishes. There is also a fine café that offers all kinds of drinks and soft snacks.