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Downtown Cairo, Buildings that tell stories – Groppi

Giacomo Groppi Cafe - Downtown Cairo

Downtown Cairo … One of the magical spots in Egyptian capital. The historical buildings were built with artistic touch. the facades shows the care on each detail. The whole area is a witness on an important phase in history.

You can have a quick online tour for this this phase here.

The history of Downtown Cairo goes back to 1867. Ismail Pasha, the grandson of Mohamed Ali Pasha, was the Khedive (ruler) of Egypt. He had a vision to make Cairo a beautiful city and even compete with the European cities. He hired a French planner to do design the downtown area in Cairo. The result was magnificent. In 1925, Cairo won the title of the most beautiful city in the world, even though European cities like Berlin, Paris and London were also competing.

Therefore, if you are visiting Cairo, try to visit the Downtown area. Each building tells a story. Here, we are of giving some examples through a series of articles, and this is the fourth one.

See the previous articles:

Egyptian Diplomatic Club

Davies Bryan Building

Credit Foncier Egyptien


Groppi Cafe downtown Talaat Harb

It is the most famous Café in Downtown. Simply, because it is unique. The architectural style of the place tell the story of this distinctive café.

Groppi Café was established by Giacomo Groppi, a swiss man who came to Egypt in 1880 (about a decade after the inauguration of the Suez Canal). in 1890, Groppi has opened his first pastry and dairy shop in Alexandria. The business was very successful so that he decided to retire after few years. He sold the shop and went back home.

Groppi lost his savings. Therefore, he decided to come back to Egypt and start again. He opened a new café in Downtown Cairo at Adly street, and another one in Talaat Harb square (The one in the above picture).

Giacomo Groppi
Giacomo Groppi (left), and his son Achille (right)

Groppi Café was the favorite meeting point for the elite layer of Egyptian community. Giacomo introduced new types of desserts such as crème chantilly and marrons glacés. In additonal to desserts, people were attending concerts and dances. Moreover, Groppi offered the most famous catering service fo the parties conducted in royal palaces, villas and embassies.

Even after the royal age and the spread of many new cafes with famous international brands, No one could replace Groppi.

The video below tells the story of Giacomo Groppi. more images for Down town buildinds are here.