This book offers an evocative photographic documentation of Cairo's few remaining public bathhouses. In the twelfth century, Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi affirmed that the Egyptian baths were 'the most beautiful in the East, the most practical, and the best located.' Nine centuries later, forgotten by the country's restoration campaign, Cairo's few remaining steam baths are drowning in general indifference. Places of relaxation and ritual, known for their therapeutic virtues, the last public baths are attempting to resist the evolution of tradition and real estate pressure. Curiously, the dilapidated state of the buildings, with their outstanding architecture, is full of charm: the decor is bright, flashy, and oriental, and the mixture of unusual objects creates a unique atmosphere. This book, with its exceptional color photographs and personal narrative, invites you into the intimacy of these bathhouses from another age before their definitive disappearance.
PASCAL MEUNIER is a French photographer with a degree in political science MAY TELMISSANY, born in Cairo in 1965, is assistant professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, University of Ottawa, and the author of two novels and two collections of short stories. EVE GANDOSSI is a French journalist who writes on the Arab world. She is the author of The Spirit of Cairo.