Midan Ataba

sights / Squares & plazas

Lonely Planet review

This traffic-clogged area of park, markets and transit hub is the transition point from European-built Cairo, particularly its theatre and entertainment district, to the medieval Cairo of Saladin (Salah ad-Din), the Mamluks and the Ottomans. You’ll likely find yourself here because it’s a convenient walk from here to Islamic Cairo.


By night the crowded stalls of the Ezbekiyya Book Market are busy with browsers. By day Ezbekiyya Gardens (admission E£2) are a dusty urban respite. The famous Shepheard’s Hotel, the preferred accommodation of the British colonists, was once located opposite – it was destroyed by Black Saturday rioters in 1952. Next to the gardens, Midan Opera marks the site of the old opera house, which burnt down in 1971, and was rebuilt as a towering car park.

Post Office

On the southwest side of Midan Ataba, past the flyovers, the domed main post office has a pretty courtyard. A window immediately on your right is where you buy tickets to the neighbouring Postal Museum , a beautifully maintained collection of stamps, uniforms and even tiny scale models of great post offices throughout Egypt.