Cairo. The facts say one thing: the biggest city in Africa and the Middle East and now so chaotic and polluted that most visitors to Egypt prefer to avoid it. This same city also speaks to us of history and humanity â€“ Moses and Jesus, Arab poets and Napoleonâ€™s scholars who were here beside the Nile. It speaks of brilliance, beauty and power, of Europeans looking on in amazement at a Cairo that was the trading partner of Venice and of such importance that the Arabian Nights narrator called it the Mother of the World. More recently, through writers such as Nobel prizewinner Naguib Mahfouz and Alaa Al-Aswany, it has spoken of humour amid hardships, of both compassion and corruption. Having seen Cairo shift and grow over the past twenty-five years, former resident Anthony Sattin examined the streets, the stories and the history of Cairo in an attempt to reconcile the myths with the facts.
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