“Gold” over the Nile .. Glory and glory on the banks of the River of Love

From the days of “Mahdia” .. stories worth telling

Rich history of Nile buoys and their unique architecture in Egypt [صور ــ أرشيف الأهرام]

They are not just floats moored here or there across the Nile, but rather living pieces of history still languishing on the waves of the eternal Nile, as if they were dancing with the breeze of the river of love. History changes its conditions, some of its features disappear and others are replaced by it. But the replacement does not mean the downfall of the effect ever. So is the biography of the “floats”, who have always decorated many aspects

from the shore of the Nile. And the floats for non-residents are just a picture or scene in a movie work. They pass by and imagine life in it, as if it were a dream. For others, it is a complete life that they know nothing but in which they were born and lived. In all cases, and for all, it is part of a history whose chapters may pass, but its impact will not be lost.

Naguib Mahfouz returns to the Nile Coast

How did the Nile buoys start ?, and what was their impact on the social and cultural reality in Egypt? Dr. Gamal Shakra, Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Ain Shams University, Rapporteur of the History Committee of the Supreme Council of Culture, and Secretary-General of the Egyptian Society for Historical Studies, provides much of the answer. Through his statements to Al-Ahram, he explained that the rise of “floaters” began long ago, as the evidence proves their existence at the end of the thirteenth century AD. He adds and explains: “The Egyptian man’s love for the Nile encouraged him to have a real connection with it, and that was the beginning of the appearance of the rafts in their first primitive form. The floating buoys were powered by coal. Then the buoyancy industry developed, thanks to the achievements of the European Renaissance and the developments it achieved in various fields, which affected all aspects of the world.

Shakra refers to the name “gold”, which has long been known to which shackles in the past, especially if they are movable and can be moved from one place to another. The rafts are distinguished by the picturesque drawings that adorn their walls and immortalize precious and beautiful landmarks of Egypt, as well as their unique architecture in which wood plays a prominent artistic role.

Some of the worlds of these “floats” are immortalized in the trilogy of the author Naguib Mahfouz. Mahfouz previously lived in one of the rafts from 1954 until the early 1960s. The years of that “residency” came after he completed the trilogy with the atmosphere of the character of “Sayyid Ahmed Abdel-Gawad” repeated on one of the rafts. While it is likely that the experience of staying in the buoy later inspired him to complete his 1966 novel “Gossip over the Nile”.

Munira Mahdia

According to a study previously published by Al-Musawwar magazine on “the world of rafts on the Kit Kat Nile” in the 1990s, Naguib Mahfouz’s statements about this private living experience were received, saying: “The truth “I was very happy to live in the raft. And pictures of the beauty and serenity I felt when I opened the window in the morning and received the Nile and the jazorina trees in their wonderful colors.” And that was before he revealed that he would not have thought of leaving his floating home one day, had it not been for an unfortunate accident that occurred with the drowning of the daughter of one of the families next to Awama and Mahfouz’s family, which led to his wife’s fears for her daughters, so the decision to leave was taken.

Returning to Shakra, he explains that in most literary and cinematic events it was embodied in the role of the “float” as a place for nights and celebrations, but it was also a witness to many national activities and artistic projects distinguished in the history of Egypt.

One of the most famous rafts in the history of the rafts was that of the dancer Badia’a Masabni in the thirties and forties. So too the raft of singer Munira al-Mahdiyya, known as raft no. 165, which was a very important source for all of Egypt’s social, political, and economic news, and it was possible to write the history of Egypt in that period through conversations and meetings that took place among senior figures in the Egyptian scene. has. He goes on to say: “One of the most famous historical chapters that took place within the rafts, the chapter related to the dancer Hikmat Fahmy, which spun between the sides of her famous raft, was the most famous case of espionage during the era of World War II, which testified to the involvement of Hikmat Fahmy in supporting the German side against the British. ”

This is why Shakra says, “This is how the shackles have always swung on the Nile page while wearing chapters of history.” He concludes his speech by supporting the idea of ​​removing the dilapidated shackles. As for the historical shackles with a record. full of facts it is suggested that it be converted into tourist centers and historical monuments. He gives the example of the case in Southeast Asia, where they use rafts as floating markets, along which festivals are held. It is also proposed to place in front of each buoy plates that record the history of the buoy and the order of its inhabitants, including prominent personalities. As well as the names of the valuable films in which it was shot.

Scenes from Life Above the Nile Page

A gift that tells of the chapters on the coexistence of man and the Nile [تصوير ــ أحمد عجمى]

She’s sitting among a number of cats, and she’s become responsible for her since she set foot on the ground on which the shackle “77” was built. The 88-year-old smiles and says: “You do not ask me about my years, I do not know how old I am.” With these words, Ms. Ikhlas Ibrahim Saleh began her encounter with Al-Ahram as she sat on her favorite seat on the balcony of her raft, adding: “This raft is not the first in my life. My brothers and I were born in another raft that was my father’s private property. I have not known a dwelling place since my birth except the Nile River, for I am the daughter of the Nile. “

Mrs. Ikhlas laughs as she remembers that one day she would drown as a child playing on the balcony of her father’s raft, who jumped into the Nile to save her, and continued how she got married, but she never got to a permanent settlement in the marriage house. She and her husband chose to settle in her father’s raft, as the deceased man was a lover of the Nile.

She says: “After a while we decided to build our own buoy, and together we started the journey to look for a place and ask about the required procedures and papers, the beginning of which was to choose the land and then to obtain the license. but my husband died and I started the difficult journey on my own, but in the end I was able to obtain my irrigation and navigation licenses. And I renewed it regularly. ”

Regarding the construction and design of the buoy, the eighty-year-old says that she met a carpenter while working on a nearby buoy, and asked him to start building her buoy, and told him that she did not need an interior designer. do not have. . She remembers, saying: “I brought the result of a wall and drew with my own hands the shape and design of it that my husband and I had dreamed of, and I asked the carpenter that the façade be completely glass, and all the rooms look out over the Nile, and I chose for the raft the color of the water blue turquoise, as for the balcony wall, it confused me, until I got the look I wanted when I got one of the foreign ranges watched TV, drew it and gave it to a carpenter to do it. As for the edges of the ceiling, I chose Baghdadi wood for it, which I struck with my hand. ”

Omar Kamel was led by Mrs. Ikhlas spent in her raft

From buoy 77 to buoy 56, where Dr. Alaa Al-Nazer received the owner of the raft “Al-Ahram” and recounted his memories by saying: “My grandfather bought this buoy for my father in the forties, and I was born, married and gave birth to my children here, the buoy is almost 80 years old. ”

Al-Nazir goes on to say, “This buoy was built in the 1920s, but after it was bought by my grandfather, it was renovated several times, and recently my brother and I did a complete overhaul of it, and we all did visit the elderly owners of the handcuffs to get acquainted with how they were made, and this process. ” It familiarized me with basic information about the production of shackles and how they are attached to the water surface. ”

He explains: “There are a number of tanks, and the tank is a large container for storing water, half of which is under water, and that is why it is unstable and vibrates a little. veins of wood are placed neatly over the chassis, and then wood panels are placed for the floor. ”

The “Nazir” tells the secrets of building shackles

The funny thing is, according to the viewer, that these tanks are not attached to the structure, as if a hole is created in the tank, it will cause the buoy attached to it to sink, and not to happen their adhesion only at the beginning of construction, and after its completion, the buoy becomes the Control of the tank, then comes the last step, which is the engineering design of the buoy itself.

He claims: “The balcony is the life of the buoy, as it represents about a third of its total area, and therefore the interest in it is great, and according to the owner of the buoy 56 the maintenance of the buoys should be on ‘ done on a regular basis. And that is by filling the tank with water so that it drops a little, then it is pulled out to the shore, to empty it of the water, and we begin to remove the rust from it and paint it and plug any holes, if any, before it is returned to its place. ”

According to Al-Nazir, this refutes the general notion that the winter conditions inside the raft are very difficult, explaining that the construction of wooden rafts allows it to retain heat, which circulates heat. One of the most important things he and his family were associated with was the fishermen’s boats, explaining: “These fishermen have always been a source of safety for me and my family, and we have become close to them, to the extent what my father used it for. to stop them from buying fish that they catch especially for us. ”

At the end of his speech, Al-Nazir requested that the owners of the rafts be given a sufficient period of time before the procedures for their removal were completed to settle their affairs, consider the large fines imposed on them, and ultimately paying compensation to the owners for the damage they will suffer.

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