El-Fishawy Café, authenticity and fragrance of the past
A Café that hosted kings, princes and artists
Turning from a small local
(Ahwa) to the most popular Coffee
shop in El- Hussein area in Cairo, El- Fishawy coffee shop was the oldest café
in the heart of Khan
El-Khalili. It hosted kings,
princes, famous artists and intellectuals who narrated various stories and events
that passed from one generation to another about the place since it was built
in 1771 AD.
argued whether to consider it a local Café or intellectuals Café as it was a
witness to major events throughout
be recently a very famous destination that you can't miss.
El-Fishawy Café is one of the major coffee shops in
the heart of El-Hussein Area which was the destination of both Egyptian and Arab
figures such as leaders, politicians and intellectuals.
famous coffee shop started as a small buffet called "bosfor" then
turned to a café built by Abdullah El-Fishawy in 1771 in Khan El- Khalili to be
the resting place for El-Hussein and Khan El-Khalili visitors of both Egyptians
and tourists. It consisted of small shops that were gradually expanded.
El-Fishawy Café got its first
license in 1863 during the Khedive Ismail period. It was expanded gradually
over the years and reached its top during Fahmy El-Fishawy ownership as he
tried his best to turn the café into a unique place.
El-Fishawy Café The café consists of a long pathway
divided into several corners (Iwans) on both sides named after a renowned
author or artists like Nagib Mahfouz corner, Ahmed Rami corner and Hafez
El-Fishawy Café, an oriental pattern
Diaa El-Fishawy the grandson of Fahmy El-Fishawy
worked to give the café a unique character and preserved its
oriental pattern in furniture and decorations. He believed that decorating the place with
mirrors will give it a functional element, in addition to the beauty element as
he will be able to watch all the café sides while sitting in his favorite place
next to the café entrance. Currently, the coffee shop consists of three parts.
El-Bosfor for kings and the masterpiece for artists only
The first part of El-Fishawy Café is known as
"el-Bosfor" covered with wood lined with ebony and full of antiques
of silver and crystal. The Bosfor was dedicated to King Farouk, the last member
of Mohammed Ali dynasty and hosted very prominent Arab and foreign guests of
The second Part of the Café is
called "the Masterpiece", and it is decorated with shells, ornamented wood, ivory and arabesque. This part mostly hosted artists.
As for the third room of the
café, it is known as "Rhyme” and, it hosted rhyme contests among all Cairo
neighbourhoods every Thursday of Ramadan.
El-Fishawy Café has unique
antiques displayed all around the café like the African Crocodile hanging on
the café's wall that was a gift from Sudanese Prime Minister and the glass
curtains made of gemstones.
What is really famous about
the coffee shop is its large mirrors hanging all over the place as the oldest
mirror is a Belgium mirror that dates back to Mohammed Ali era for that the
café is known in most of the French references as " mirrors café".
Visitors of El-Fishawy
El-Fishawy café hosted many
renowned figures like the French Military leader Napoléon Bonaparte, the famous
German leader Romel, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir in addition to Arab
princes and Empress Eugenie who visited Egypt during Suez Canal inauguration in
The Café also hosted president
Gamal Abdel Nasir, Ahmed Shawky, Hafez Ibrahim, Abbas El-Akkad, Nagib Mahfouz
Nagib Mahfouz at
Nagib Mahfouz, Nobel Laureate,
was a regular at El-Fishawy café and he wrote most of his novels there. He also
loved being there in Ramadan listening to folk singers such as Mohammad Abdel
Motleb and Mohammad El-Khalwy.