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Sightings in Books

Of interest historically as regards to establishing the chronology of the instigation of the paving is to any pictures of the paving in print, in books, articles, journals and newspapers. Although the paving does indeed appear in books (but not in any of the other print forms listed, or at least has so far been found) this is not to say that it is of a purposeful picture i.e. ‘here is a picture of the world-famous Cairo paving’, or similar. Rather, the paving, when it does indeed appear on a few rare occasions, is shown by chance, incidentally in the background of the picture, such as in general street scenes, or outside notable buildings, such as mosque, a hotel, and exhibits in grounds, as detailed below. However, these incidental occurrences still serve a purpose, and indeed are invaluable for historical documentation. Indeed, any photograph at all is at a premium here; I have been able to find surprisingly so few instances, given the now established considerable extent. Indeed, even these (nine) sightings below are not all distinct as might be thought; on occasions the same picture is used in different books. For example, The El Alamein picture in [4], [6], [7] is the same, save for differences in cropping. Furthermore, these are all of relatively recent times, of 1980, 1987, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2012, and far from the earliest instances, of photographs at the American University in Cairo Rare books and special collections library, of the 1960s. And to add to the woes concerning the pictures, they are generally not always ideal, with pictures from afar, or at an unfavourable angle, in which the paving is unrecognisable without foreknowledge of its existence. Indeed, only instances [1], [2], [3], [5] are definitive.

In order of chronology, the sightings (all incidentals) appear in:

[*] ‘From Khans to Khiltons’. Aramco World Magazine. November-December 1973, pp. 16-26, 28, Joseph Fitchett, (with photographs by Peter Keen). see p.22 At Manial Palace, Rhoda Island
[1] Cairo, in the series of ‘The Great Cities’, by Time-Life books, Malise Ruthven, 1980, p. 25. Outside a butcher’s shop in Zamalek
[2] The American University in 
Cairo: 1919-1987, Lawrence, R. Murphy, 1987, p. 254. Campus pictures
[3] Egypt Insight Guides, c. 1987, page 171, by
APA Publishing. City of Dead, featuring an apparent modern day mosque
[4] Passport’s Illustrated Travel Guide to 
Egypt. 1994, first edition, p. 73. El Alamein War Museum, featuring relics of World War II
[5] Egypt, Berlitz Pocket Guide, 2nd edition, 1995/1996, p. 26. Students outside 
Al-Azhar University
[6] Fodor’s Exploring Egypt, 1st edition, 1996, p. 47. Old Cataract Hotel, 
Aswan, featuring the terrace of the Hotel and p. 222, El Alamein war museum. N.B. this book also appears under a different title AA Explorer Egypt, 2000, with the same content save for minor bibliographic change
[7] Essential Egypt, AA Guides, 2002, p. 60. 
El Alamein War Museum
[8] The Nile, by Insight Guides, 2002, (the Old Cataract hotel)
[9] Discover 
Egypt, 2012, Lonely Planet, 2nd edition, page 224. El Alamein War Museum

Likely there are other travel guide books (and books on Cairo in general) where this paving has also occurred, and I would be indebted to any reader who can draw my attention to others, ideally the earlier the better. (Once a location has been established, this makes further searching/investigation much easier). Indeed, in recent times I have been investigating such book sightings. However, my instigations are hampered in that there is almost too rich a concentration of books on Cairo, and Egypt in general. For instance, gives the equivalent of a 65-page word document! There is simply too much material to examine, albeit one can indeed distinguish ‘likely’ books from ‘less likely’ ones, for example, those with titles based on ancient history, or modern day politics can be eliminated. Also, regrettably for the purpose of the inquiry, the travel guide books available tend to be modern, for obvious reasons. Oddly, there does not seem to be available travel guides book pre 1970 to give a rather arbitrary date (at least in terms of weight of numbers; there appear to be much more biased towards modern day instances).


To this end, is there any reader interested enough in examining travel guide books on Cairo available to them in their own local libraries? Any others, even of a negative observation would be of assistance, in that I could eliminate this book from my enquiries. As ever in this inquiry, no detail is too small. Even if you have just a single instance not listed here, I would be interested in hearing details. The books I have examined I list below, with comments:


Altman, Jack. Egypt. Berlitz Pocket Guides. 2nd edition, 1995-1996. copyright 1993.

Typical tourist guidebook, 144 pages, small format, picture heavy, Cairo tiling p. 26, square format, outside of Al-Azar University. Who is responsible for this book as regards citation is a little unclear. Note that the author of this book may be described differently, under editors, Sara Hudson, Donald Grieg. Altam is credited with text, at the head of credits. The photograph was taken by Pete Bennett, but upon searching for him have not been able to find contact details. Does anyone know of him?


Bertinetti, Marcelis. Egypt Flying High. The Works

Pictures of Egypt and Cairo from on high. No apparent Cairo tiling


Firestone, Mathew D. (Cordinating author). Egypt. Lonely Planet 9th edition May 2008. First published February 1977. Picture light, mostly maps and text. In Grimsby central library

No Cairo tiling.


Franquet, Sylvie. The Nile: Cairo, Luxor, Aswan. Insight Pocket Guide Apa Publications (In Grimsby central reference library).

Picture heavy, pitched towards tourist. No Cairo tiling


Gauldie, Robin. Egypt. Globetrotter Travel Guide New Holland, 8th edition, 2011)

128 pages, small format pocket guide book, picture heavy with an excellent ‘proper’ pull-out map. No Cairo tiling


Haag, Michael. Cairo, Luxor & Aswan. Cadogan Guides. 3rd edition 2009

368 pages, No Cairo tiling. Premise is mostly of historical interest per se, with text, and occasional line and shade drawings. Very few photos; just a handful. Of general interest


Haag, Michael. Passport’s Illustrated Travel Guide to Egypt. Passport Books, 1994.

Typical tourist guidebook, 192 pages, picture heavy. El Alamein war museum grounds, page 77. Although the square format of the tiling is clearly shown, the inscribed pentagons are not. However, this is likely to be due to the small-scale nature of the picture, of which such fine detail is lost. However, that said, a tiling of a square divided into three rectangles is another ‘popular’ tiling, and so this is indeed a possibility. However, the likelihood of this, given what I know of the Cairo tiling from other pictures there, makes the hypothesis unlikely in the extreme.

The photograph was taken by Rick Strange, of the AA photo library, but upon searching there on the AA website it not found, and indeed, I have not been able to find contact details of Strange himself. Does anyone know of him?

Loveridge, Emma. Egypt. 1997.


Picture of the Old Cataract hotel from afar, with the paving just slightly discernable, but only with foreknowledge.

Murphy, Lawrence R. The American University in Cairo. 1919-1987. American University in Cairo Press. 1987

Indispensable guide to the AUC. Generous amount of pictures, of which the Cairo tiling always appears by chance. Although the Cairo tiling can be seen on three occasions, p. 64 detailed, but unstated picture of the campus, p. 186 (Bartlett fountain) p. 175 possibly (outside Air France offices), only one picture is of any worth, on p. 254, of a general Campus scene. The photograph was taken by Walter Ferro, but upon searching I have not been able to find contact details of Ferro himself. Does anyone know of him?


Nelson, Nina. Essential Egypt. Publishing Division of the Automobile Association, 1990

Slim booklet of 126 small pages. No Cairo tiling.


Raimond, Isabelle. (editorial coordination). Egypt 1001 Photos. Rebo pubishers, 2007.

No Cairo tiling.

Rauch, Michael. Egypt. Insight Compact Guide. Discovery channel book. Written by. 2008 APA Publications. First edition 1995.
Typical travel guide. No Cairo tiling.


Richardson, Dan. The Rough Guide to Egypt 4th and 8th editions 2000 and 2010.

Mostly line drawings of maps very few photos. No Cairo tiling Central library. Only the 8th edition, 2010, page 487 in ‘The Works’ bookshop, Freshney Place, has a photo of the grounds of the El Alamein war museum, but only with foreknowledge is the Cairo tiling discernable.


Richardson, Dan and Daniel Jacobs. The Rough Guide to Egypt. 6th edition November 2005. Picture light, mostly text and maps. In Grimsby central library

No Cairo tiling.


Ruthven, Malise. Cairo The Great Cities. Time-Life Books 1980. Second English printing 1983

General photographs of modern day Cairo, and commentary thereof. Cairo tile p. 27, outside a butcher’s shop in Zamalek, of the square format. Of significance; the first instance so far in print.


Sattin, Anthony et al. Discover Egypt. Experience the best of Egypt. Lonely Planet. 2nd edition Sep 2012. First edition November 2010, not seen. Picture heavy

(Sphinx on cover, with hot air balloons)

El Alamein war ground picture p. 224, but only with foreknowledge is it discernable as the Cairo tiling, but one of the better pictures


Sattin, Anthony and Sylvie Franquet. Explorer Egypt AA Publishing (the same book as Fodor’s Exploring Egypt, below). Reprinted 2000. Typical tourist guidebook, 288 pages, picture heavy. Two sightings, page 47, of the Old Cataract hotel, and page 222, of the relics in the Al-Alamein war museum grounds. Both pictures are not ideal, with as usual the subject matter not the pavings themselves. Of the two, the Cataract instance is by far the best in terms of clarity, but even so, one requires foreknowledge to discern individual pentagons, albeit it is not too far from being identifiable as distinct pentagons. The El-Alamein sighting is much the poorer, taken at a raking angle, and only with foreknowledge is the tiling known; the picture is essentially of square tiles in a chequerboard formation


Sattin, Anthony and Sylvie Franquet. Fodor’s Exploring Egypt. Published in the United States by Fodor’s travel publications Inc, 1996. Published in the United Kingdom by AA Publishing 1996, First edition.

Typical tourist guidebook, 288 pages, picture heavy. Note that this is exactly the same book (save for minor cover and bibliographic details) as ‘Explorer Egypt’ immediately above!

Old Cataract hotel and El Alamein sightings. Of note historically in that De Young first told me of the Old Cataract sighting here, p.47


Showker, Kay. Fodor’s Guide to Egypt. Hodder and Stoughton, 1977.

Of little direct interest, very few pictures, no Cairo tiling.


Stannard, Dorothy Project editor Egypt, Inside Guides. Discovery channel book. First edition 1987 sixth edition (this) 2009. Grimsby central library

Cover: Tutankhamen

Typical tourist guidebook, picture heavy no picture.


Stannard, Dorothy (Editor). Egypt. Insight Guides. First edition 1987, Fifth edition 1998, updated 2000, reprinted 2002

Typical tourist guidebook, 356 pages, picture heavy Cover: Pyramids as seen through a blue haze

General guide to Egypt. Has Cairo tiling page 171, clearly displayed, outside a mosque in the City of the Dead


Thompson, Hugh and Claire Folkard, Project Editors. Egypt. Eyewitness Travel. First published in 2001, reprinted with revisions 2003, 2005, 2007

Typical tourist guidebook, 368 pages, picture heavy. All aspects of Cairo, modern and new. No Cairo tiling.
Created 22 June 2013