"This city looks quite different from above than one sees from below." The famous Egyptian actor Adel Emam said this to describe Cairo. It 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 Arabs, visit Cairo Tower when they come to Egypt to enjoy the panoramic views of the city of the thousand minarets.
The tower consists of 16 floors and has a vast Aswan granite base, which the Pharos used to build fascinating temples and structures.
The Cairo Tower is considered an architectural gem. It is in the shape of the lotus, a vital plant in ancient Egyptian life, and thus demonstrates ancient Egyptian civilization.
The History of Cairo Tower
Cairo Tower was built between 1956 and 1961 with the help of more than 500 Egyptian workers. The Egyptian engineer Na'oum Shobaib designed it. The tower, made of concrete and iron to resemble the lotus, which ancient Egyptians used to produce papyrus, is 187 meters long, 43 meters higher than the Great Pyramid of Cheapos. It is in the middle of Cairo, at the edge of Zamalek Island.
Cairo Tower was built during the reign of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. It cost 6 million pounds when it was built in the late 1960s. The USA gave this money to the Egyptian government to prevent the Egyptians from supporting the Algerian uprising against the French occupation. This is 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. Although Egypt needed that money immensely to rebuild its infrastructure, Nasser insisted on building the Cairo Tower with American capital to stand as a clear, everlasting proof of Egypt's union and alliance with the Arab world.
Restoration of the Tower
The Cairo Tower underwent a major restoration between 2006 and 2008. The operation, implemented by Arab Contractors, cost 15 million pounds. The work included:
- Restoring the iron body of the tower.
- Installing emergency stairs.
- Putting in a new elevator for visitors.
It also included upgrading and strengthening the tower's entrance and renewing and painting the outer body.
The Cairo Tower's area was extended to 400% of its old surface area, and four new floors were added to reach a height of 1,145 meters. This enables the Cairo Tower to host 700 visitors simultaneously instead of only 120. In addition, it is lit by a new (LED) system.
Cairo Tower Today
A ticket to visit Cairo Tower costs 20 EGP for Egyptians and 60 EGP for non-Egyptians. Cairo Tower offers fantastic views of the Nile and different parts of Cairo, including the Saladin Citadel, the old campus of the American University, the Abdeen Palace, the Qaser El Nile Bridge, and the Al-Azhar Mosque. Even the pyramids can be seen from a unique vantage point from the Cairo Tower. Cairo is excellent, especially from the top of the Cairo Tower.
At the top of the tower is a nice revolving restaurant that enables visitors to see all of Cairo while enjoying a delicious meal. The restaurant has 15 tables and offers a wide variety of dishes. There is also a fine café that offers all kinds of drinks and light snacks.