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Downtown, the hub of central Cairo, is close to the current AUC campus and the most densely populated of the housing neighborhoods. Urbanites may enjoy the bustle of activity day and night, with good shopping and entertainment possibilities and the once-grand European architecture; many buildings date from the late 19th century. Among the drawbacks are traffic and noise. Except for its proximity to the campus, most relocated faculty, particularly those with families, would not find downtown Cairo the most suitable place in which to live.
Garden City, a small oasis south of Tahrir Square, is about a 15 to 20 minute walk from campus. Though no longer retaining the premier status that it enjoyed during the first half of the 20th century, Garden City remains among the elite residential, business, and diplomatic areas of Cairo. The neighborhood population is mainly middle- and upper-class Egyptians, with a small blend of foreigners.
The original plentiful green areas have shrunk considerably, and many of the imposing villas have been replaced by apartment buildings. However, with its winding narrow tree-lined streets, the Nile river bordering its western edge, and the remaining belle époque villas with their art nouveau grillwork still intact, it is a pleasant quarter in which to walk after the embassies and bank offices close and traffic virtually disappears from the streets.
There are no chains or supermarkets here, just small, individual shops (groceries, bakeries, dry-cleaners, hardware, etc.) with the personalized service that is so typically Egyptian. Many residents find it convenient to shop on their way home from AUC. Bigger markets in Zamalek and Giza are a short taxi ride away. Walking and Cairo's ubiquitous black and white taxis are the best means of getting around from Garden City, but all forms of transportation, including the Metro, are nearby.
There is an English-language daycare facility for young children on the AUC campus. The nearest private school for English-speaking children is the British International school in Zamalek. [Top of Page]
Located on an island slightly to the northwest of central Cairo, Zamalek is a very urban, up-scale area with a large cosmopolitan population. Zamalek has some of the best shopping and restaurants. A private sporting club (the Gezira Club), public green areas, an opera house complex, and a new public library (the Greater Cairo Library) make Zamalek a pleasant place in which to live. Private international schools include the British International School, which has an International Baccalaureate program.
Zamalek is approximately 2.5 kilometers (1.5 mile) from AUC's downtown campus and can be reached by taxi or on foot. There is also a shuttle bus to the Zamalek building every 20 minutes, Sunday through Thursday, on a fee basis. Heavy traffic, noise and shortage of parking can be a problem, especially at rush hours.
AUC owns a building in Zamalek that functions as a student dorm and includes some faculty apartments. If newcomers choose to live in Zamalek, they may be assigned a flat there but should be aware that current plans are to sell the building when AUC relocates in 2008. [Top of Page]
Ten kilometers (6 miles) south of downtown Cairo is Maadi, a rather upper-middle class cosmopolitan and westernized suburb. Once a neighborhood of large old homes and gardens, it is rapidly being built up with apartment buildings. Though new high-rises line the Corniche, a major thoroughfare along the Nile River, and the outskirts of town, most of Maadi consists of low and medium-rise apartment buildings surrounded, in the residential areas, by shade trees and gardens, where something seems to be in bloom in every season.
There is an abundance of groceries (with delivery) and other shopping facilities, but little nightlife in Maadi. While it does have many restaurants and fast food outlets, there is not the wide range of choice found in other parts of town. There are many private international schools such as Cairo American College and the French Lycée.
Maadi offers family-oriented activities, and most families who have children find Maadi the best area in which to live. The library, track, pool, tennis courts, and playground of CAC are available for community use. There is also an off-campus baseball field. There are local churches. The Community Services Association (CSA) offers a wide range of classes and activities and frequently sponsors art exhibits by local artists. Its facilities include a small gym, a paperback library, and a used clothing outlet.
The easiest transportation to central Cairo is by metro; there are three stations in the Maadi area. AUC offers a limited-hours shuttle bus to and from Maadi, Sunday through Thursday, on a fee basis. [Top of Page]
The new AUC campus, due to open in Fall 2008, is located 35 km (21.75 miles) east of the existing campus in the center of the developing area called New Cairo. University-owned housing for eligible relocated hires will be built, and a limited number of apartments will be available in time for the opening of the new campus.
Travel times between New Cairo and other areas of Cairo are roughly expected to range from half an hour (Maadi) to an hour (Garden City, Downtown), possibly longer for Zamalek. Afternoon return trips to some areas may require more time owing to traffic congestion. A shuttle bus service is being planned between New Cairo and other districts. [Top of Page]