Egypt - Cairo's traditional coffee houses
39 images Created 11 Dec 2008
With the Egyptian Revolution the Ahwa (the arabic word for coffee and coffeehouses) of Cairo resurged after many years of political repression. The international media speak often of the web generation but still today the ahwa are the prism continue to hold a significant rôle, like a prism to understand Egypt’s politic, literature and culture. Also the 2011 Revolution started at least after the killing of a young man by the police near a ahwa. The coffee houses are a historical and architectural heritage of the city, a place for business or relax speaking of politics, sport or family problems. The ahwa, born when coffee beans where introduced in the medieval Islamic Cairo from Yemen, can be a tiny hole-in-the-wall or a faded Belle Époque splendour full of mirrors. But is always a animated place where Cairo’s men socialised playing chess, backgammon or domino, reading newspapers or watching TV, drinking Turkish coffee and shai (tea) with mint or smoking a sheesha, the tradional waterpipe. Some ahwas are meeting places for particolar people, loving chess or remembering famous Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum, others are historical places like Fishawi open 24 hours a day for the past 200 years. Today Cairo is changed and everybody is just too busy, but the ahwa still resist as one of the last defenses of Cairo’s soul.