Island on the Nile, Cairo

The islands on the Nile in Cairo are divided up into El-Roda and Geziret on the southern island and Gezira and Zamalik on the northern island.

Center for Art and Life

To the north of the Nilometer is the Manisterli Palace, with the Center for Art and Life (arts and crafts from Pharaonic times to the present day; exhibition and shop).


From the Ezbekiya Gardens the modern Shari 26 July, lined with shops and offices, runs west and then northwest and crosses the Nile on 26 July Bridge to reach the island of Gezira, 3mi/ 5km long and just under 1,100yd/ 1,000m across.

Cairo Tower

In the southern half of Gezira is the great landmark and emblem of the modern city of Cairo, the 614ft/187m high Cairo Tower, with observation platforms and a restaurant from which there are panoramic views of the city.


In the northern half of the island are the select residential district of Zamalik, with the Palace of Art (near the Zamalik Bridge, on the west side of the island), and an interesting Aquarium (fishes from the Nile) in the southern half are extensive sports grounds and public gardens (Gezira Sporting Club; golf course; Khalil Museum of Art; Exhibition Grounds; El-Tahrir Gardens; Andalusian Garden).

Palace of Art

The Palace of Art, housed in the Nile Grand Hall on the former Gezira Fair Grounds, features galleries, a cinema, a library, and a lecture room.
Address: Gezira Ground, Egypt

Khalil Museum

The Khalil Museum in Cairo is an interesting place to visit for the entire family.

El-Tahrir Bridge

The south end of Gezira can be reached direct from the Midan el-Tahrir by way of the El-Tahrir Bridge.

Gezira Fountain

Off the southern tip of Gezira, in the middle of the Nile, a fountain forms a prominent feature in the landscape.

Gezira Museum

South of the tower is the Gezira Museum, with a Transport Museum and the Museum of Egyptian Civilization.
Address: Gazirah Exibition Grounds, Egypt


Farther upstream from Gezira is the smaller island of Roda, another residential area.


The description of the Nilometer by the Greek geographer Strabo (ca. 63 B.C.-A.D. 20) is still accurate:
"The Nilometer is well built of regular hewn stone on the bank of the Nile, in which is recorded the rise of the stream: not only the highest and the lowest rises but also those in between, for the water in the well rises and falls with the stream. On the side of the well are marks, measuring the height sufficient for irrigation and other water levels. These are observed and made known to all.... This is of importance to the peasants for the management of the water, the embankments, the canals and so on, and also to the officials for the purpose of taxation; for the higher the rise of the water the higher are the taxes."
At the southern tip of Roda is the Nilometer, constructed about 715 to measure the water level of the Nile and much restored in later centuries; although it has now lost its original function it is still of great historical interest.

Manyal Palace

Near the north end is the Manyal Palace, built in 1805-18 in the time of Mohammed (Mehemet) Ali, and which is now a museum.

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