Monday, October 22, 2007

Book Review : Cairo Maps : The Practical Guide & Other Excellent Maps for Cairo

Cairo Maps : The Practical Guide

Published by The American University in Cairo Press It used to cost 30LE, but if my information is right, the price has now increased to 45LE.

If you plan to use only one map in Cairo, then this is the one to buy. It may not be as detailed as some other maps that you may have used in other countries or Google maps, but it’s the best and most detailed that is available for Cairo city.

You can't expect building numbers and one way directions (since they keep changing daily in Cairo) but what you can expect is all the roads being named and the major hotels and tourist spots are marked. There is a 1 page map of the Cairo Metro system and one comprehensive single-pager of the Ring Road. At 58 pages, it’s a pretty slim map for the city, but as I said before - it’s the best you can buy.

The Palm Press Map Guide to Maadi & Old Cairo

If you live in Maadi, then this may be THE map for you. Its an Arabic/English bilingual map. The Index covers telephone numbers of some restaurants, hospitals, travel agencies and other essential services. The map also details snippets of history of some of the marked places. This is a large 70x100cm map in a card sleeve.

The Palm Press also advertises a similar map for Heliopolis (70x100cm) and Zamalek (70x50cm), but I haven't seen them yet.

Cairo - A-Z Complete Street Finder
Cairo A-Z
I haven't used this one but I've liked their other maps. They advertise this one as : Cairo A-Z includes over 150 pages of colour maps, a 6000-street index, revised and updated and new Cairo Guide.

It is the fourth edition of our full-color complete streetfinder of greater Cairo. It includes details of the Islamic monuments, a brief guide for the visitor and a 36-page section of useful addresses and telephone numbers. It is the most detailed and up-to-date map of the Egyptian capital ever published.

The SPARE maps of Medieval Cairo
(Designed by The Palm Press)

Series of 4 maps for the Society for the Protection of Architectural Resources of Egypt (SPARE) covers the tourist interest sections of Old Cairo or Medieval Cairo as they are named. These are about 10LE each.
Map 1 : From the North Walls to Al Azhar (includes guide map to Khan al Khalili Bazaar)
Map 2 : From al Azhar to Sultan Hassan
Map 3 : From the Citadel to Ibn tulun (with map of the Citadel)
Map 4 : The Northern Cemetery (City of the Dead) and Coptic Cairo (includes Amr mosque & Nilometer)

These 4 maps are schematic and only identify the major places of tourist interest. They also give a little history of each of these monuments along with details on the dynasty during which they were constructed. They can help you cover the basics, but as I've learnt from my PTP walks, its up to you to walk into other buildings that look interesting to you along the way.

All these maps are available at most of the Major Bookshops in this City

You can also pick up plenty of free maps at the city's coffee shops which are pretty good, if all you need is an orientation into the major areas and the major roads.

There are other maps out there, (like the Insight Guides flexi map to Cairo which is very good for rough use since it comes prelaminated) but these are the ones that I use after selecting them from the bookshops that I frequent. If you have any other maps that you think are worth recommending, please do add them below in the comments section.

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