Downtown Cairo is the commercial heart of the modern city of Cairo. In addition to hosting the Egyptian Museum, Downtown is the convenient location of many smaller hotels, retail outlets, travel agencies and restaurants. Its central location makes it a natural “jumping off point” for exploration of the city.
Downtown Cairo’s wide boulevards and streets were laid out in the late 19th century on the orders of Ismail the Magnificent, the Paris of Baron Hausmann being the obvious model for a ruler wishing to Europeanise his capital and his country. The architecture of many buildings is clearly redolent of Paris in the 1870s, if now somewhat run down from neglect and dusty from the Cairene climate.
Downtown Cairo is centered on 1 Midan Talaat Harb, at the intersection of Talaat Harb St (southwest-northeast) and Qasr El-Nil (west-east). The southern end of Downtown is Midan Tahrir (Tahrir Square). The east end is marked by 1 Midan Ataba, the starting point of Islamic Cairo. If you are a confident traveler and used to navigating your way around cities, then Cairo should be no different for you.
Talaat Harb St was known as Soliman Pasha St before 1964. The statue of the French General Jean Anthelme Seve, also known as Soliman Pasha Al Faransawi, stood where the statue of Talaat Harb, founder of the Banque Misr now stands. Cairienes know this street by both names.