Filler
Photo of Shira

 

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Advertisement for Grand Opening of Casino Romance
(today known as Shahrazad)
December 30, 1950

 

By Priscilla Adum and Shira

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

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Introduction

Note from Priscilla:

This interesting advertisement sheds a bit of light on the history of a club that still exists in Cairo today. The date it appeared was Saturday, December 30, 1950, and it appeared in Al Ahram newspaper on page 4.

The ad is for the Shahrazad Casino as well as for the Luxury Auberge Nightclub, both managed by Fathya Mahmoud at the time.

According to this ad, the Shahrazad club changed its name in 1950 and became The Romance Night Club for a period of time. Khristo Kladakis was the dance trainer/choreographer for the club's dance troupe, and is mentioned in this ad.

This same club on Alfi Bey street had previously been known as Abbaye Des Roses early in the 20th Century. At some point after 1950, the club changed its name back to the Shahrazad and continues to work under that name today, next door to Alfi Bey Restaurant.

Shahrazad

 

 

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Shahrazad in the 21st Century

In 2015

Note from Shira:

In 2015, I went to Cairo with Sahra Kent on her Journey Through Egypt 3 tour. We encountered Heather Ward, author of the book Egyptian Belly Dance in Transition. On February 11, 2015, Heather led our group on a walking tour through the entertainment district of Cairo, culminating at the site of the Shahrazad nightclub.

At the time, the Shahrazad was not open to the public, because it was undergoing renovation. However, the owners gave us permission to come in and look around. I had the opportunity to take these photos as we explored inside.

This photo shows the entrance as it looked in 2015, next door to Alfi Bey restaurant.

Click on any photo in this gallery to see more detail.

Shahrazad Entrance

This photo shows a wider angle view of Alfi Bey Street. The two arched windows to the right of center, next to the taller building, show where the Shahrazad is. Alfi Bey Street
This closeup shows the Shahrazad sign. The scaffolding erected in front of it was there because the building was being renovated. Shahrazad Sign
The workers allowed us to come inside the nightclub and look around. Just inside the door, there were these two frames with glass "doors" that opened. They were designed to hold promotional photos of performers, but on the day we were there, all they held was a couple of empty plastic water bottles. Shahrazad Marquee
A stairwell led from the entrance to the second floor where the nightclub was. High on the wall above the marquees hung an elaborate oval picture frame. It contained a photo of three women and a man, holding bottles of Stella beer in their hands. This was, of course, an advertisement for Stella beer. Stella Ad
This photo shows a closer view of the Stella beer advertisement. It was difficult to find a good angle to take these photos of the Stella beer ad because it hung high on the wall and off to one side of the staircase. Stella Ad
The door leading into the actual nightclub was closed and locked that day, so we were not able to look inside. However, even the door itself was beautiful. Door Into Club
Another stairway led up to the roof. Back in the heyday of the salas, there were open-air entertainment venues up on the rooftop gardens, in addition to the indoor theaters below. The day we were there, we didn't go up to the roof because we didn't want to be too much in the way of the workers. Stairway to Roof

 

In 2016

In 2016, I returned to Cairo, again with Sahra's Journey Through Egypt 3 tour. I liked it so much in 2015, I came back for more! We came back to the entertainment district, and of course we needed to take a look at the Shahrazad to see how renovations were going!

The first change we discovered was that the club featured a new sign on the façade.

Shahrazad Facade

In 2015, we only saw the entrance hallway, we didn't have an opportunity to go inside the club itself. Therefore, it was exciting in 2016 to go inside and see the decor.

The colorful tables and chairs are positioned for a view of the stage.

Tables and Chairs
I was captivated by this beautiful romantic fantasy mural of a man and woman on horseback. Mural
This closeup view of the stage shows a beautiful view of the retro decor along with a beer advertisement! Stage
Here's another view of the beautiful decor inside. Wall Decor
I'm not sure why there was a sign saying "Bolero Nightclub". I guess that's a question to look into on a future visit! Sign

 

In 2018

In Journey Through Egypt Part 3, Sahra Kent always arranges an opportunity for her participants to dance to live music performed by virtuoso Egyptian musicians.

On April 24, 2018, she took it a step further by booking the Shahrazade to serve as the site for the "live music day".

The musicians who performed for us that day included:

  • Kamal Jaafar on violin
  • Imad Sucre on drum
  • Kamal's son Belal on keyboard
  • Ali Kamal as vocalist

The four of them played so well together, it was magical.

Musicians
And here's a photo of Shira performing on the historic stage of the Shahrazad on April 24, 2018! Photo by Rhonda Higgins. Shira

 

 

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About the Translator

Priscilla is a dancer of Lebanese heritage who enjoys researching the Golden Era of Egyptian dance. She owns a collection of more than one hundred classic black and white Egyptian films which is continually expanding.

Priscilla has also gathered a large library of dance related articles and clippings from Middle Eastern magazines and newspapers, many of which she has translated from the original Arabic to both English and Spanish.

Priscilla currently resides in Central America where she is a dance instructor. 

Priscilla

 

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