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The Fish Garden
  The History of The Fish Garden  

          For many years throughout the history of Cairo, Zamalek or ‘El-Gezira’ meaning the island was a green paradise you can spot from almost anywhere along either bank of the Nile.

          The island's landscapes were designed by De la Chevalerie, who had once done the landscape designs for the City of Paris.

          The Gardens of Gezira were originally spread on 2,200 hectares; the Khedival -later to be the Gezira- Sporting Club in which were the race course and polo field that previously surrounded the royal residence, the Marriott Gardens and to the west of the estate lay the Fish Garden formerly named the ‘Grotto Garden’.

          These were all parts which formed a huge park attached to the Gezira Estate. At first only a kiosk was built near its east shore, and after a few years it was turned into the baroque mansion or palace designed by Julius Franz Pasha, now the Marriott Hotel.

         The Palace and grounds were completed in 1869 in honour of Empress Eugenie who was invited by Ismael Pasha to attend the inauguration of the Suez Canal, the occasion for which Verdi’s Aida was commissioned.

          Later on, the palace grounds were divided. The building of the Gezira Sporting Club took place in late 1882 and hence was no longer part of the palace gardens.

         Ismael’s Grotto Garden was completed in 1867 on nine and half acres of his private property. It was once one of Cairo's highlights as it was one of the few 19th century gardens open to the public. 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.

          In the early 1900s, Captain Stanley Flower introduced the Fish Garden; as he added aquariums in the old grottos of the garden, it became home of a rare collection of African fish.

          The Fish Garden was rehabilitated and reconstruction in 2000. The Garden also known as the Gabalayia Garden or the Aquarium Grotto Garden was completely restored; damaged parts were rebuilt while retaining all original features.

          The project aimed at restoring and maintaining the elegant grounds of the garden that first opened to the public nearly a century ago, in 1902.

          The rehabilitation project included plans to expand an existing lake within the garden. Now it is divided into two parts, one for ducks and geese and the other for swans. The park is in particular characteristic for the grottos and tunnels which house interesting fish aquarium. The aquarium settings are fairly original and the walk through the grottos is very pleasant. The garden is now illuminated with indirect lighting so that the scenery can also be enjoyed by night.

          The garden is quite close to the downtown areas; however, the fascinating thing is that once there, one feels distant from the busy streets and crowds.

          The Fish Garden is very popular for students who go enjoy the afternoon there after school and on holidays with the family. It is also a famous spot for young romantic couples given the nice scenery and quite surroundings. On the other hand, students from the faculty of Arts and amateurs painters are often found there painting different objects and landscapes of the garden.

(14th Dec. 2005)

Source: website "Tour Egypt!"

WZD - Worldwide Zoo Database
2009 - 2019
Zdroje a autoři: WZD, oficiální stránky ZOO, oficiální tiskové a jiné materiály ZOO (není-li uvedeno jinak); Datum poslední aktualizace: 24. 12. 2019
Sources and authors: WZD, official websites of ZOO, official printed and other matters of ZOO (if it is not stated otherwise); Date of last actualization:24. 12. 2019
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