Ataba Square, the largest market in Cairo
In the heart of the Egyptian capital Cairo, you can't miss Ataba Square,
one of the city's largest and most famous squares. The all-time bustling square
is not only the central transportation hub in Cairo but also a cultural
destination housing the National Theatre and the Child Theatre, two of Cairo's
most famous cultural landmarks.
El-Ataba is an intersection of Abdel Aziz Street, Qalaa Street, Azhar Street,
El-Geish Street, Azbakeya Street and Oprah Street. Now Ataba Square is the
largest marketplace for all ages and tastes at the lowest prices.
Ataba Square, from Aristocratic to public
El-Ataba Square, which means "threshold" in Cairo, dates from
hundreds of years. In the past, it was known as El-Ataba El-Zarqa "Blue
Ataba", then it became El-Ataba El-Khadra "Green Ataba". The
Square's name was associated with Taher pasha palace built by El-Hag Mohammad
El-Shraibi Shah in Azbakeya area, as it had a blue threshold. But when Abbas
Pasha bought the place, he replaced it with a green one.
Taher Pasha Palace or Saraya el-Ataba is one of the luxurious buildings
in Ataba area, and it was the residence of several state men at that time. The
last of them was Abbas Pasha Helmy, the third ruler of Mohammed Ali's dynasty
who rebuilt and expanded the palace for his mother, the widow of Prince Tusun's.
Then when khedive Ismail decided to redesign the whole Azbakeya area and Attaba
area, a big part of the Saraya was removed and replaced by the various court's
Origins of Ataba Square
Ataba Square is related to El- Azbakeya area which was named after
Prince Atabak Azbak. He was the first to live near Azbakeya pond after removing
all the garbage there. Then in 880, he started to reconstruct the surrounding
land encouraging the rest of the area residents to build their houses around
the pond. Prince Azbak also built a mosque in the area and was known as
"Azbak Mosque". The Mosque was located near Al-Azhar Street entrance
until it was removed when the Ataba area was redesigned.
Ataba, Markets for all
Ataba markets emerged in 1869 when khedive Ismail decided to build a
stone market similar to the modern markets he saw in Paris and Turkey at that
time. Since then Ataba was and still is the most famous open market in Cairo, as
in the early twenties Ataba was like a shopping carnival where both Egyptians
and tourists went shopping.
Ataba, and the tram
In August 1896, the first tram line was opened to the public in Ataba
square in a luxurious celebration and many Egyptians lined up to see this miraculous