Vintage Egypt: Cruising the Nile in the Golden Age of Travel

Vintage Egypt: Cruising the Nile in the Golden Age of Travel

AUC Press

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Alain Blottire

As wealthy tourists descended upon Egypt in the early twentieth century, a well-heeled jet set emerged in Cairo and Alexandria. Period photographs celebrate the glamor: a Bugatti at the foot of the pyramids, a local sailboat transformed into a sumptuous yacht, a few tourists in white suits and Panama hats . . . these are the images of a voyage in Egypt under the last kings, Fuad and Farouk, between 1917 and 1952. Writers such as Rudyard Kipling and Andr Gide testify to the fascination of Egypt's "golden years" where, in a country turned toward Europe and "protected" by the British army, a very individual social set blossomed in Cairo and Alexandria.

Fascinating accounts of this universe have been left by both Egyptian writers and visitors to the country. They offer us a rare glimpse of Egypt before the era of mass tourism. Extraordinary period photographs also survive, unearthed in Cairo or Beirut, in museums or private homes, and published here for the first time, they reconstitute the fragile yet effervescent glamour of Egypt under the last kings.


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