New Cairo, as its name would imply, is the newest district in Cairo.
Located in what was just recently all desert, in 2001 a Boston firm brought forth a master plan aimed at building up this area.
A self-explanatory name, in Arabic it is generally referred to as ‘El Tagamu El Khamis’ – which translates to The Fifth Settlement, though this is not entirely accurate.
The New Cairo district roughly consists of The Fifth Settlement, Katameya and Rehab City.
The main and pretty much only road that reaches these areas is the Ring Road, coming from either the Downtown and Maadi direction or from Nasr City.
There are no metro lines that come close to New Cairo but taxis and microbuses frequent it regularly, just like any other district.
Continuously being developed, New Cairo emerged in the recent years offering an alternative lifestyle to that of the over crowded cities. One of the first projects to be built there was Katameya Heights.
Though it is technically considered part of The Fifth Settlement, it is usually referred to as just Katameya.
The compound, or gated community, is home to upper class Egyptians and some influential figures – like temporary Vice President, Ahmed Shafik.
The clubhouse and golf course have proven to be very popular for residents from Maadi and Nasr City equally; the club is open to membership for those not residing within its walls.
The houses there are grand and spacious – many of them with Roman columns at their doors; the streets are paved in cobblestone and the landscape is filled with gardens and trees. In other words, it is another world.
The Fifth Settlement as a whole consists of the First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth developments as well as the West Golf. Street 90, just off of the Ring Road, is essentially the main road that’s used around there.
The American University in Cairo (AUC), The German University in Cairo (GUC), The Canadian International College (CIC), Future University in Egypt (FUE) are located on Street 90, as well as a bunch of shopping malls.
The Downtown Mall is good for clothes shopping and also has a side street with a strip of cafes including the French origin, upscale, Paul.
Meeting Point, close to AUC, is filled food outlets and also has a cinema; it is most visited by students from the nearby campus.
Rehab City, at the intersection of the Ring Road and the Cairo/Suez road, is a fully developed community that is made up of ten phases.
Designed by Talaat Mostafa Group – the founder of which is in jail for the scandalous murder of his mistress – the project includes medical, educational and recreational facilities.
The houses and villas were built to accommodate up to 200,000 residents, though it probably is not that fully inhabited. The compound is only ten minutes away from Nasr City and Heliopolis.
Life in New Cairo is distanced from the ruckus of the more central cities.
The streets are wider, the gardens more plentiful and because of its elevation, the weather tends to be a lot cooler with the air a lot cleaner; it is the only place in Cairo where frost is found in the winter seasons.
Apart from the numerous universities, there are a lot of schools in and close to this district as well.
The International School of Choueifat, the British International School and the American International School make New Cairo all the more tempting a location for families to settle.
New Cairo is not the most common place for outings though it has a few outlets that cater to this.
Breeze in Katameya Heights is next to the clubhouse and provides a relaxed environment to have a meal or drink; in Ramadan it becomes what Egyptians refer to as a ‘tent’, which means it caters to shisha smoking and other Ramadan related activities. Dusit Thani hotel, adjacent to the Lake View compound, also has food outlets and is known for its spa treatments.
The criminal court in The Fifth Settlement, as of March 2011, became the site for former Interior Minister Habib El Adly’s trial for corruption.