Thursday, April 29, 2010

The (apparent) similarity between Egypt's Cairo and India's Delhi

I visited Cairo in December of 2009. Although I was in Cairo and Giza for <72 hours, I roamed quite a bit, and one of the things I observed and felt is that Cairo looks and feels very much like India - and more specifically like Delhi (this, by the way, is something I've told to every single person to whom I've spoken about my visit to Egypt). "It's the city closest to Delhi that I've ever seen, either inside or outside of India", I've told many people.

Although there exist some differences, I couldn't help but wonder how could the two cities be so close:
  • The "average look of cars" was Delhi-like
  • The roads and flyovers were so Delhi-like
  • The average height of buildings was similar
  • Khan el-Khalili bazaar was so much India-like
  • People honked a lot - the same as here in Delhi
  • People abused at each other - much like in India
  • The people - especially menfolk - looked like Indians
  • Unorganized retail was common in Cairo - like in India
  • The airports of both Cairo and Delhi are "not that good"
  • The one mall I went to looked like a mid-level mall in Delhi
  • The approximate density of high-risers seemed similar to Delhi
  • Most people's  driving - albeit on the opposite hand - was random and rash
  • The average "stylishness" of youth was close to India, albeit less than Delhi
  • Just like in Delhi, people seemed to be freely littering garbage anywhere and everywhere (the area around the pyramids was badly littered)
The above list is only indicative - there are other similarities that can be listed. For someone who knows India well, the following photos (all taken from Wikimedia/Wikipedia) should make it slightly easier to understand why I feel that the two cities are similar, both from looks and behavior:

It's my belief that for someone who understands India well (particularly Delhi), understanding Cairo should be a lot easier (including from doing-business perspective). Some day, I want to find out whether my feeling is/was correct.


  1. Mughals who built Dilli must have present in Cairo for a long time. also, for long, trade used to happen through the nyle route..its simple..but interesting observation, I must say.