Muslims WorldWide

Photos: Former Roman Christian city Cairo under Islam 1900-1936


Snake charmers, feluccas on the Nile and bustling streets: Stunning century-old images show Cairo on the cusp of change

  • These images, taken between 1900 and 1936, reveal life in Cairo at a time when it’s rapidly expanding 
  • It’s one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world having begun under the Roman rule 
  • There’s photographs of people going about their day-to-day business as well as mesmerising scenery


The city of Cairo is among one of the oldest, continuously inhabited places in the world.

It started life close to 2,000 years ago, under Roman occupation, but was only given its current name around 1,000 years ago.

The English name of Cairo is in fact a derivative of its Arabic name Al-Qahirah, meaning The Victorious.

These vintage images, taken between 1900 and 1936, illustrate life in the Egyptian capital at a time when it was experiencing rapid population growth according to Mashable.

They reveal everyday life in the city as well as the timeless tourism appeal and mesmerising sights that have captured the imagination of travellers throughout history. 

The Giza pyramids outside Cairo, pictured in 1936. The English name of Cairo is in fact a derivative of its Arabic name, Al-Qahirah, meaning The Victorious

Taken in 1934, a man and a boy lead a donkey and two camels, carrying jugs of water and boxes, along the road

Pictured in 1934, the cargo boats, heavily laden with goods, are docked in a canal off the Nile river 

A bustling street in Old Cairo, pictured in 1934, showing children playing by themselves while the adults went about their business

The view Mosque of Ibn Touloun, captured in 1900
Rows of feluccas on the Nile in 1900

Taken in 1936, this image shows a farmer standing by the floodplains of the Nile river with the breath-taking pyramids in the background

A snake charmer pictured around 1900
An obelisk near the city, pictured in 1934

Outside Cairo station in 1900, the street vendors are busy tending to their wares
The entrance to a Nile bridge, Kasr En-Nil, pictured in 1900

This photograph, taken while the Nile has flooded its banks around 1900, shows a tree partially submerged and the waters getting precariously close to the temples in the foreground

A man and his donkeys are pictured standing outside the Mosque of Kait Bey in 1900
The Cairo donkey market in 1900

Times are changing: A felucca sails past a steamboat on the Nile in this image from 1920 which juxtaposes the old and new world

A group of boatmen eat their lunch together by the side of the Nile, pictured in 1934
Pictured in 1934, people gathered outside the south entrance of Mosque of al-Azhar

A man gets his shoe shined on the side of the road, pictured in 1934
Another man gets his shoe shined on the side of the road, also pictured in 1934

A group of men wait on the side of the road while their donkeys feed on grain in 1900
A camel-drawn bridal party pictured in 1900

This image, taken in 1939, shows a felucca boat sailing down the Nile - a sight that can still be seen today 

A woman wearing the tradition outfit of the time in 1900
This man, pictured in 1900 carrying an unusual contraption, is a lemonade vendor

A man and his donkey outside Mosque of Emir Akhor in 1900
The scene in Muski street in 1900

In this photograph taken in 1934, fishermen cast their nets into the Nile water as it gushes around them

A man waits outside Sultan el-Ashraf's tomb and mosque, pictured in 1900
A man standing with his back to the necropolis, the city of the dead, in Cairo in 1900

Another shot of a busy street, taken in 1934, shows a trader walking with his goods on a tray on top of his head

An undated picture of feluccas docked by a steam boat
View of Cairo from Saladin Citadel in 1900




4 thoughts on “Photos: Former Roman Christian city Cairo under Islam 1900-1936

  1. Looking at these pictures shows me how little has changed. Dirt, sand, poverty, weird costumes. And they got me thinking about archaeology. I doubt that anything from antiquity was discovered by the natives, but rather it was by Westerners untainted by backwardising Islam. If ISIS gets its way, the pyramids will be blown up. The Egyptians lost so much through Islam: much of its culture, its language, its freedom of expression. It’s a shame.


  2. Everywhere Islam has dominated poverty and bad economy follows. Has any politician really taken a hard look at Islamic societies? Africa another example – one would believe with Africa’s Oil and other natural resources most of Africa would by now be out of third world poverty. Water electricity public housing and transport. Is it there? Islam is full of corruption greed and totally lacks ethics. Trillions have been sent to the third world of which Islam is a part. Where has the money gone?

    Liked by 1 person

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