You are on page 1of 2

Historical Parks and Gardens in Cairo,Egypt.

Aquarium Grotto Garden.

Egypt is one historically intense country that always prioritize the urban research in their urban
country’s development. Besides, one of important element behind the greatness of Egypt history was on
the history of parks and gardens that being part of country’s memory, culture, history and future
(Rahman,2016). One of their historical city was Cairo,capital city of Egypt as the home of seventeen
million people and has an about 25% of the country population (Nippon Koei Co.Ltd and Katahira &
Engineers International, 2008;Rahman,2016) besides as the Egypt’s economic drivers and whole
continent of Africa (Sims,2012; Rahman,2016). Cairo was became a very well-known rich historical
city that illustrated their historical elements in its parks and gardens and many of Cairo parks and gardens
date back in 19 and 20th centuries, one of its was Aquarium Grotto Garden.

For many Egyptians the concept of a 'public garden' is comparatively new and its related with
luxury, something the poor dream of and aspire to. Besides,it’s represents a symbol of paradise, as in
Arabic, the terms 'garden' and 'paradise' come from the same root and the ideal of the paradise-garden
is imprinted in all Muslims' mental conceptions. Next, Aquarium Grotto Garden in Zamalek was created
in 1871 by Combaz and Dumilieu,a well known rockery-makers from Paris on a 10 feddans (4.2
hectares) areas and its believed that the areas are still stand till todays (Rahman,2016). These grotto
garden before was known as Ismaels Grotto Gardens that was completed in 1867 during the reign of
Khedive Ismael who ruled from 1863. It was a garden of plants and home to the Khedive's exotic plants
shipped from all over the world and it also housed his collection of fish and reptiles from the Nile and
Africa and once becoming one of Cairo highlights as it was one of the few 19th century gardens open
to the public (Rs Hamdy et al,2007; Rahman,2016). Then, Captain Stanley Flower has introduced the
Fish Garden in the early 1900s as he was added aquariums in the old grottos of the garden. Besides the
grotto has became home of a rare collection of African fish and reptiles that inhibited in all 24
constructed tanks (Rs Hamdy et al,2007; CairoScene, 2014; Rahman, 2016).

The Garden also known as the Gabalayia Garden is the most popular among groups of
schoolchildren who enjoy viewing the man-made caves and fish species exhibited in it. It is also a
favourite place especially for university students for romantic dates and entertainment (Messiri, 2004).
Besides,the garden’s unique scenery and aesthetics qualities has make its featured in various movies in
20th century. The beauty of the garden and its location does not attract the elite residents of Zamalek as
they only appreciate the beauty of the views from their windows. They are conscious of the importance
of greenery and always ready to fight for it but they found out that it was inappropriate for their style of
life to spend their time in gardens.
The construction technique used during the construction of the garden was the construction
rockery technique used by Combaz to emulate stalactites was first to make sure of the firmness of the
blocks by fixing in the vault pieces of iron sticking out in specific lengths (Rahman,2016). These rods
were joined together at a fixed angle making a pyramid shape and then were connected by a iron wire
mesh into which liquid cement was injected by means of a pump,layer by layer until a homogenous
block was formed. Next ,the rock workers were used colors to finish the surface of the cement with
which they lined their grottoes. Iron and copper oxide and red and yellow ochre were elements that made
up the colors (Rahman,2016).

In a nutshells,the Aquarium Grotto Garden was so lucky to be one of historical gardens that did
not loose part of its area in the urban development. Then in terms of garden designs styles and direction
specifically in Cairo, it was believed that parks and garden in Cairo can survived and continued exist
within the urban growth of modern cities because mostly the design of the garden were followed the
contemporary standards of design in the world and still used till today (Rahman,2016). Besides, Cairo’s
park and gardens designs also was based on the urban french ideology which ensure the existing gardens
or park constructed will follow the urban developing design. Then it is important to review the design
principle and ideologies behind garden in Cairo as it can help in analyze any potential design concept
that can be used in our country park and gardens.


Rahman,N. H. A. (2016). Egyptian Historical Parks, Authencity vs. Change in Cairo’s Cultural
Landscapes. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 225 (2016) 391-409.
Cairo's Green Spaces:The Aquarium Grotto Gard. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Messiri, N. E. (2004). “A Changing Perception of Public Gardens”. Cairo: Revitalising a Historic

Metropolis. (Stefano Bianca and Philip Jodidio, eds.) Turin: Umberto Allemandi & C. for Aga Khan
Trust for Culture, 221-233.

Related Interests