The City of Zagazig
Zagazig is one of large cities of the Eastern section of the Nile Delta in Egypt. Being the capital of the Sharkeya Governorate, or the Eastern section of the Delta, Zagazig overlooks the Nile, the Mois and Ismailia Lakes, and the Muiz Canal. The city is located 85 kilometres to the North East of Cairo, the capital of Egypt.
With the population of the city estimated to be more than one million and a half inhabitants in the statistics carried out by the Egyptian government in 2010, Zagazig remained as one of the largest and most important cities of the Nile Delta, together with Mansoura, Tanta, and El Mahala, Zagazig.
The Foundation of Zagazig
Mohamed Ali Pasha, the founder of modern Egypt, founded Zagazig in the 19thcentury, as he wanted to dig canals for irrigation in the Eastern section of the Nile Delta in order to cultivate more lands to enrich the whole Delta region as a whole.
The city of Zagazig became the largest and most important city in the directorate of Eastern Delta in 1883 taking the position of the city of Belbeis, situated near the city of Suez to the far Eastern side of the Nile Delta.
All the governmental bodies and institutes were transferred step by step from Belbeis to Zagazig as the employees worked in temporary offices before the first governmental institute was established in the city in 1836.
With a few years passing by, the lands of the city started expanding and this whole new administrational hub became bigger and bigger when tradesmen, various craftsmen, and manufacturers started residing in the new city and establishing their new businesses there.
After the creation of the railway station in Zagazig at the end of the 19th century where trains used to travel, on a regularschedule, from Zagazig to Cairo to the North, Mansoura and Suez to the West. In 1980, the Egyptian government issued a decree to declare that Zagazig has officially became the administrational capital of the governorate of Sharkeya
The City of Zagazig Today
The city of Zagazig is divided generally into two major sections, Hay Awal or the First Neighbourhood and Hay Thany, or the second neighbourhood. This is a broad general division of the city that hosts today a large number of districts.
The most important public squares of the city of Zagazig are Tala’ebHarb Square in the centre of the city, Kawmeya Square, El Sagha Square, El Montazah Square, Sphinx Square, and El Tahrir Square.
On the other hand the most famous streets in the city of Zagazig include the Governorate Street, or Abdel Aziz Ali Street, El Amn El Gheza’ie Street, Kawmeya Street, ToblaOuweida Street, SaadZaghloul Street, Gala’a Street, and Tal’aetHarb Street.
Zagazig enjoys having three bridges established on the lands of the city and they include El Sagha Bridge, or the New Bridge as the inhabitants of the city prefers to call it, El Zera’a Street, and Kafer Abdel Aziz Street.
The Name Zagazig
Egyptian historians have always debated the real origin of the name Zagazig, as there are actually three popular theories and none of them was ever proven to be the right answer when it comes to the origin of the rather strange name of the city of El Zagazig as being pronounced in Arabic.
The first asserts that the name refers to the family of Ahmed El Zagazoogy who established the city of Zagazig before Mohamed Ali even started paying attention to the city.
The name of the city of Zagazig was mentioned in the description of Egypt drafted by the French soldiers during the occupation of Egypt in the beginning of the 19thcentury but it was named KaferZegzy.
The second theory claims that the name Zagazig originated when Mohamed Ali ordered his men to build Nile barrages in the position of the dam that was constructed to store the water of the Mois Sea to provide the required water to aggregate the lands of the Sharkeya governorate.
When the builders and workers came to the city to build the new barrage, they lived in small huts made out of mud on both sides of the sea. Different vendors and other people followed the workers of the barrage and stayed in this new location.
Many fishermen came to live in this new place as well and they started to catch a new distinctive type of fish that was only found in this area and it was called the Zegazeegy fish.
The third and last theory about the name El Zagazig states that the city was called after the Zagzougy family, a family who came from the Arabian Peninsula and stayed in Northern KaferZagazig in the beginning of the 19th century.
Some historic theories state that this family was the first to live in this section of the Nile Delta and that the name of the city originates from the name of this family. However, no scholar was ever able to find a solid concrete evidence to prove this historic fact
The Historical sites of Zagazig and Sharkeya
Zagazig, and the governorate of Sharkeya in general, the same as many other regions of the land of the Nile, enjoy hosting many interesting historical sites. Tanis.
Situated only 70 kilometres to the North of the city of Zagazig, Tanis is the most important historical site in the Nile Delta. Tanis is the Greek name of the city which was the capital of the Egyptian kingdom during the reign of the 22nd and the 23rddynasties.
Tanis remained as one of the largest cities in Egypt since the reign of the New Kingdom and until the end of the Roman rule of Egypt. This is why the historical site of Tanis hosts a large number of Pharaonic and Greco Roman antiquities.
The location of the city, being the main rout where the ancient Egyptians tried to invade the lands of the Hittites, Palestine and Syria today, and the first defensive line against any attacks coming from the North.
The most important temple of Tanis is the temple of the god Amun and it was one of the largest temples to be constructed in the Nile Delta of Egypt. The major section of this temple was built in the middle of the 13th and 12th centuries BC.
This temple was constructed by Ramses II; the most famous builder of ancient Egypt and the founder of many fabulous temples all around Egypt like the Temple of Abu Simble situated to the South of Aswan and the hypostyle hall in the Temple of Karnak and a large number of huge statues of himself and the king Amun.
Many of the components and different elements of the temple of Amun are still preserved in its original location. The ruins of Tanis attract many tourists who visit Egypt to come explore this distinctive monument.
This includes the huge granite gate, a number of large statues of Ramses II, the builder of the temple, a statue of a sphinx, and there is also a large sacred lake, the second largest in Egypt, after the famous sacred lake of the Karnak Temple in Luxor.
The historical site of Tanis also hosts a large number of remarkable obelisks as it is considered to be having the largest number of obelisks in any monument in Egypt. With more than 20 obelisks, huge and ornamented with the name and the history of Ramses II, Tanis is a very interesting location to study ancient Egyptian obelisks.
The Grand Mosque of Zagazig
Zagazig is also featured for having one of the most remarkable Islamic monuments in the Nile Delta; the Grand Mosque of Zagazig. The mosques was constructed by Mohamed Ali on a surface area of more than 400 square meters
Constructed in 1832 as one of the establishing steps of the foundation of a new comprehensive city, the mosque has a facade of 11 meters higher and it was made out of stones and the whole complex is based on 8 huge granite columns that were imported from Upper Egypt.
The Mosque has a wonderful minaretthat is 30 meters high and it was decorated in the traditional classical style of minaret ornaments blended with the Ottoman outlines. The ceiling of the mosque is made out the purest types of wood and it was colored in a wonderful style.