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18 Thursday , April, 2024
Official Portal of Cairo Governorate
Top News

Café Riche, a Memory of a nation

 

A Theatre, a restaurant, and a coffee shop

On Talaat Harb Street in Cairo, you can't miss Café Riche one of Cairo's most historic and popular coffeeshops.  Café Riche had a role in the evolution of political, cultural and artistic life in Egypt. Many cultural and political seminars were held in the presence of famous Egyptian intellectuals among them were Taha Hussein, El-Akkad, and Naguib Mahfouz.

 

 

 

Café Riche was founded by the Austrian businessman Bernard senberkh in 1914. Then it was sold to the French man Henry Risney who gave it the name "Riche". After a while, Mr. Henry sold it to Gorge Evanos, a Greek man, who renovated the place.  The café ended to become the property of an Egyptian man from Upper Egypt called Abdel El-Malak Mikhail.  After his death, his heirs redesigned the whole place to preserve its history and heritage. The café overlooked Suleiman Pasha Square and used to have an illuminated garden which hosted a classical orchestra band to play every night.

 

Café Riche, a cellar and a theatre

After the 1992 Cairo's earthquake, a cellar was discovered at the café, said the current owner Magdy Abdel Malek. Inside the cellar, they found a printer which was used in printing secret publications of the Egyptian revolution of 1919.

 

Café Riche wasn't just ordinary café. It was the home to intellectuals, writers and artists such as Taha Hussein and Abbas El-Akkad. In the 40s Louis Awad and Ramses Younan used to visit the café followed them in the 90s Naguib Mahfouz, Salah Jahin, Abbas El-Aswani, Umm Kulthum, and Riyadh Al Sunbati along with politicians who gathered to discuss the country's affairs.

 

 

       
The café was also a theatre that hosted several concerts. In the café lobby, Aziz Eid 's ensemble performed many of his plays.

 

 
Café Riche, an inspiration for authors   

Riche café with its unique characteristics motivated the imagination of its visitors especially artists and authors on top of them were Ramses Younan and the scriptwriter Osama Anwar OKasha who inspired his popular show Laily El-Helmia from the café visitors.

Some of the café visitors said that the two Egyptian presidents Gamal Abdel El-Nasser and Anwar El-Sadat often visited the café. Other renowned figures like Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm and Egyptian novelist Gamal Al-Ghitany were also regulars.

 

Umm Kulthum on Café Riche stage

On 23 May 1923, Café Riche announced in "El-Mokattam Newspaper" that the café is going to host Egypt's Star of the East Umm Kulthum and encouraged people to book their places.