Somewhat evasive with its official borders, Dokki is an area on the Western bank of the Nile, on the opposite side of Downtown Cairo.
Part of the Giza governorate, Dokki was designed during the 20s and 30s by Oswald Finney, a member of a prominent British family that had settled in Alexandria.
A roundabout that carries his name, that has inexplicably become ‘Viny’ Sqaure, remains an important Dokki landmark.
In 1964, after substantial urban development and transformation, many upper class Egyptians moved to this area having owned mansions and land there.
Officially named ‘El Dokki’, which means the harbour, it is believed to have originated from a family that came and settled here from Upper Egypt, only to leave it and return to the countryside years later.
This area is quite central in regards to Downtown and Zamalek, with several main roads connecting it including Nile Street, Tahrir Street and Mohy El Din AbulEzz Street.
The area is surrounded by the Nile to the East, Sudan Street to the West and Abd El Salam Arif Street to the south, while Agouza and Mohandiseen are to its north. Even with these distinctions, it is still arguable where exactly Dokki begins and other areas end.
As well as many focal streets leading to Dokki, it is also accessible by metro with four stops spanning across the area starting with the Gezira stop, then Dokki and Bohous; and the fourth one being at the Cairo University.
The main areas of Dokki are Bein El Sarayat, New and Old Dokki, El Mesaha and El Behous.
El Mesaha is the most revered part of Dokki and is home to hotels such as the Sheraton Hotel, Pyramisa Hotel and the Pakistani, Yemeni and Jordanian embassies.
Overall Dokki has over forty embassies that include the French and Russian, making it the district with the second most embassies, after Zamalek.
This neighbourhood has the central El Mesaha Square where El Shaher Hotel and the German school, Deutsche Evangelische Oberschule Kairo (DEO) are located.
There are also El Mesaha Arts and Culture Centre and the Modern Sciences and Arts University. El Behoos area, meaning ‘research’, earned its name from an Agricultural research centre located in this area.
A significantly important landmark in Dokki is the Shooting Club. Originally named the Royal Egyptian Shooting Club from the times of King Farouk I, it was founded in 1939 with the purpose of providing an area for Egyptians to pursue their hobby.
The club is currently very popular with younger generations, families and sports players as it offers garden space, sports facilities and an escape of Cairo’s crowded streets.
Next to it is the Ministry of Agriculture that has the Agriculture Museum that makes for an interesting visit.
Adjacent to the club is a very main street, Mohy El Din AbulEzz.
This is a popular shopping hub with many restaurants as well.
Towards the end of this road is Mosadak Street that also hold importance to this area with many popular outlets; it eventually connects to Tahrir Street – perfectly tying the area together.
Tahrir Street has Cinema Tahrir, the Russian Culture Centre and the best koshary in town at Koshary El Tahrir.
In the Southern part on Kafour Street, closer to the Corniche, there is the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum, which carries an impressive collection of European, and especially French, art.
Although there is not a surplus of outings to find in Dokki, there are a few notable ones.
El Ahwa is a pleasant bar on the roof of the King Hotel; if you’re willing to spend a little more money Stiletto, opposite the Sheraton, is a lounge and bar that often has a DJ and music late into the night.
Locally renowned Tout Express, on the corner of Viny Square, has been popular for years with its large selection of freshly squeezed juices.
Dokki might not be one of the ‘finest’ areas to live but for those who need to worry about paying rent, it is nice and low for decently sized apartments.
It is also close to pretty much all the rest of Cairo – connecting easily to main bridges that would lead to closer and further away districts alike.