Under the title “Azbakiya comes to you” the Nahdet Misr publishing house is holding a book fair in Mohandiseen, Cairo, from 10 to 25 May. The fair is selling local and world titles at affordable prices.
The name of the fair makes an allusion to the Azbakiya Wall, the wall that fenced one of Cairo oldest garden parks that goes back to the 18th century. At the time the district of Azbakiya, today in Downtown Cairo, was an upscale entertainment area of parks, theatres, and song and dance. By the mid-19th century it became part of modern-day Cairo, and in the early 20th century the outer wall of what remained of Azbakiya park was used in by book vendors to set up stall upon stall to sell second-hand books and magazines at very cheap prices. The Azbakiya Wall was a treasure trove of old and rare books; readers paid a few piasters for precious finds which they may have been diligently looking for in vain.
After several attempts by consequent governments to move the booksellers from the Azbakiya Wall to some other location, in order to make way for construction work necessary for modern Cairo’s underground metro and other projects, the booksellers were in 2012 moved to another spot in Downtown Cairo. The government provided the booksellers with an alternative market and modern stalls, but the name ++Soor al-Azbakiya++, Azbakiya Wall, has become a household word for a treasure trove of affordable books.
13 May 2015