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

Blind Bridge and English Bridge:
Neighborhood of Badia Masabni's Summer Casino


by Shira





In 1930's Cairo, it was common for the people running theater troupes to close their downtown sites for the summer, and move their operations to either Alexandria or Giza. According to an article "The Arabic Theatre in Egypt" by Nevill Barbour that appeared in Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, University of London Vol. 8, No. 1 (1935), pp. 173-187:

From June to September, the theatrical quarter of Cairo is deserted, the companies moving either to Alexandria or to open-air theaters at popular resorts in the suburbs of Cairo.

Alexandria is a popular resort town for Egyptian family vacations in the summer to escape the heat of Cairo for a time. The club was intended to be open only for the summer, to attract vacationers.

In the Cairo area, the summer clubs included Badia Masabni's at the English Bridge (see below), as well as several in the Rode al-Farag part of Cairo.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This map shows the location of the English Bridge that was mentioned in some of Badia Masabni's summer casino ads. Click on it to see more detail.

English Bridge Map



English Bridge and Blind Bridge

The Al-Galaa Bridge, which was completed in 1914 (five years before Egypt's revolution against British occupation), connected Cairo to Giza. It was originally called Kobri al-Ingleez al-Gadeed, which means "The New English Bridge". It replaced a previous bridge on the same site that had been built in 1872. This bridge later became known as Kobri Badia (Badia Bridge) because Badia Masabni had owned a nightclub on the west side of it where the Sheraton Cairo Hotel stands today.

Another name sometimes used was "The Blind Bridge".

In advertisements promoting the shows at Badia Masabni's summer club at this location, Badia identified it as "The Blind Bridge" in 1930 and 1931. However, Badia's advertisements appearing in 1935, 1937, 1938, and 1940 all identify it as "The English Bridge".

The name "Al-Galaa Bridge" was given to the bridge after the 1952 revolution. It means "The Exit Bridge", in remembrance of the exit of British Troops from Egypt.

El-Galaa Bridge



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