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Talaat Harb Square

Talaat Harb Square

Cairo

Up until the Revolution, this was once one of the most fashionable areas in Cairo. It still has its European-style buildings, but now it is local people who frequent it. The Europeans and expats are all in Zamalek, an upscale district on Gezira island or Ma'adi, an equally upscale suburb to the south. But it is precisely its local flavor which is invigorating, at least to the outsider. In countless alleys off the main streets are leafy enclaves where men gather at all hours of the day and night to drink tea, smoke shisha and sort out the world's problems. But in these slightly run-down havens you'll also find offbeat art galleries, old-fashioned hotels, cafes and restaurants and book stores.

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