Did you ever pass by a particular neighborhood and say to yourself "now this seems different" or "I fancy this atmosphere"? That is what Maadi is all about, located in the southern suburbs of Cairo, distinguished not only by its geographic isolation far from the rest of Cairo but by a significant style and an overwhelming greenery dominating its streets
The story of this significant neighborhood dates back to 1904 when a railway track was built connecting Cairo to Helwan a suburb, particularly when the Mosseri cousins bought wide stretches of land on both sides of the track and resold them to Egyptian Delta Land and Investment Company (EDLCO).
Maadi was planned in 1905 by an English-Canadian retired officer captain Alexander J. Adams in aradial pattern around the railway station. Maadi steadily grew into a wonderful town; well planned and organized it was a home for artists, literati and the high social class as well as a collection of foreign nationalities. Maadi flourished by the inauguration of the sporting club (Maadi sporting club), its first bank (Bank of Alexandria ex-Barclays), its first gas station (Mobil) and a number of other services including committees' churches and mosques.
Construction in Maadi had certain rules and regulations that had to be followed (specified colors for shutters, ratio of garden to building per plot, width of sidewalk etc?) all in continuous harmony to produce the "paradise of Cairo".
The town was divided into several parts; the two railway tracks and the canal played a big part in this due to their vertical intersection. The residential area grew within the tracks and just outside towards the Nile while outside the tracks a barracks was constructed by Khedive Ismail as well as a military camp holding 76,000 officers.
Maadi had a commercial strip situated on road 9 parallel to one of the railway tracks, no stores were to be opened anywhere else except on the west side of that particular street.
Like an old woman with faint features of beauty upon her face Maadi managed to keep some of its old magic and is still regarded as one of Cairo's most attractive and prestigious neighborhoods.
Maadi has evolved into a small city-like place unable to maintain its isolation from what is around it.
Maadi gained some of the characteristics of the great city of Cairo. High rise buildings and traffic have recently appeared, fast food chains, supermarkets, department stores? everything. Opinions are divided concerning this fast and overwhelming change, some say that it is normal and is a form of development equal to that of the country and on a greater scale the world. The other opinion says that a place with the significance of Maadi should be preserved and its unique style and beauty saved throughout the generations.
Although a cruise in your car around Maadi is a very delightful thing to do and is a tradition to many people whom appreciate architecture, greenery or just the sounds of birds in their ears, there are some things you should know about:
Do not be surprised if you are driving around Maadi and find a dozen of security guards or police officers around a certain villa or property, this scene could be duplicated 26 times for each of the 26 foreign ambassadors who chose Maadi as their residential neighborhood.
Throughout the same driving journey, which mostly you find pleasant and relaxing in those empty peaceful streets you can sense sudden traffic jams indicating that you are in or just about to enter one of the two main commercial strips: road 9 or the western road leading to the Autostrad (highway connecting Maadi to Nasr city and Heliopolis) that is because Maadi was not designed to cope with such commercial concentrations nor with their huge gatherings.
Extending your drive throughout "Degla" or "New Maadi" you will be faced with construction, loads of it too, people who have failed to buy property inside Maadi simply chose to operate just outside "Degla" and the east side in general and construct a total mess of high rise buildings and road networks initiating the feelings of disturbance and resent in the hearts of most of Maadi's citizenry.
Maadi is counted amongst Cairo's first class neighborhoods and is of course on Cairo's first class price list.Like everywhere else the prices in Maadi have slightly fallen compared to the last few years.This is a consequent to a remarkable rise in supply not meeting its match in demand.
Another common aspect of the renting phenomena is the recently applied new law, which clarifies and defines renting issues, accentuating the priority of a contract.The owner-client relationship in Maadi differs, apart from the fact that both owners and clients prefer to keep away from realtors for various reasons, they seem to have established a vocabulary of their own which includes "foreigners", "corniche" and "CAC" as keywords.This could be explained? Sellers target the clients giving priority to foreigners specially on offering furnished households aiming for clarity, punctuality, and responsibility for furniture as well as foreign currency.The price hierarchy mechanism can now be illustrated, granting the highest prices for the first row on the "corniche" backwards on a linear basis, depending greatly on the factors of view and direct access to the "corniche"(the longest street in Cairo intersecting it vertically alongside the Nile). On the other hand the "CAC" Cairo American College situated in Degla imposes a radial pattern hierarchy with the spacious school as a center.The prices in Degla and the surrounding areas are highest just around "CAC" and decline in circles upon going further from the school (major attraction to foreign families).Then comes the geographical difference between new and old Maadi.New Maadi is a modern imitation of old Maadi but still not an identical twin, the younger sister carries the same scent but for some reason the essence of the peace, quiet and significance found in old Maadi hasn't reached its full effect.
On a personal note, I would like to point out that even though renting in Maadi or finding the perfect place to begin with seems like a complicated process. I can confidently say that out of my own experience it's not such a hassle and living in Maadi is absolutely worth it, Maadi will always maintain its position in the hearts and minds of Egyptians and foreigners alike.
Maadi as always is considered as one of Egypt's high-class neighborhoods and the citizens of Maadi are rated somewhere between upper middle class all the way to the cream of the crop. The nice thing about Maadi and its people is how they are all connected in one way or another and you feel once inside this community that everyone knows everyone else. This all comes from the relatively small size of Maadi compared to the rest of Cairo's neighborhoods and its geographical isolation previously mentioned and how the citizenry are of equal or similar social class.
Another thing that characterizes Maadi is the number of foreign citizenry residing within its parts attracted not only by the place and its dominating greenery and organization close to atmospheres of their own countries but by the services Maadi provides resembled in the CAC and the church communities. Another social aspect of the place is the sporting club located at the center of Maadi and the "Yacht club" on the ''Corniche" they are not only considered as places for sports and sporting teams but they are regarded as the site witnessing most of the social and cultural activities in the neighborhood. Believe it or not! There is a tourism-based approach to Maadi too; there are three hotels on the "Corniche" (Sofitel, Maadi hotel, Cairo hotel) all 4 stars as well as a 3 star hotel in the center of Maadi (Residence). That's not it, just outside Maadi (about 10 minutes by car) You can find an oasis, the closest oasis to Cairo and more surprisingly not many people know about it. It's a wonderful place, breathtaking work of nature and its called "Wadi Degla".
almost unmentionable a very low crime rate accentuating the town's mast common description; peaceful. Population: Maadi is always considered as an empty place and to be more precise the number of habitants per square kilometer is the lowest in Cairo.
maybe not the smashing night out but you can still go out and have a nice time. There is an assortment of restaurants of all kinds and styles as well as a couple of pubs where you can have a few beers and wind up for a while and maybe shake it off on the dance-floor!