26 Wednesday , June, 2024
Official Portal of Cairo Governorate
Top News

El-Fishawy Café, authenticity and fragrance of the past


A Café that hosted kings, princes and artists

Turning from a small local Café (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.




Historians argued whether to consider it a local Café or intellectuals Café as it was a witness to major events throughout history to 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.       


The 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 Ibrahim Corner.


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 Egypt.


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, Mirrors Café

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 Café

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 1869.


The Café also hosted president Gamal Abdel Nasir, Ahmed Shawky, Hafez Ibrahim, Abbas El-Akkad, Nagib Mahfouz and others.


Nagib Mahfouz at El-Fishawy café

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.