Rosetta: City of magic


The Daily News Egypt - - Local Destinations -

Rosetta, also known as Rashid, is the city of magic and imag­i­na­tion, where the sea meets the river, where the glory of his­tory meets the present in a mes­meris­ing way.

The city bears many se­crets and glo­ri­ous his­tory that sur­rounds ev­ery part of it.In an­cient Egypt it was called Bol­bi­tine and was fa­mous for man­u­fac­tur­ing war wheels.

This city was able to counter the Fraser ex­pe­di­tion alone.This ex­pe­di­tion was an op­er­a­tion by the Royal Navy and the Bri­tish Army dur­ing the An­glo-Turk­ish War in 1807.

But lo­cal peo­ple be­lieve that this led to the catas­tro­phe of the city later on, since Muham­mad Ali Pasha, dur­ing his reign, was afraid of re­sis­tance from this town, as they were able to de­feat the Bri­tish army, whereby he con­verted the routes of trade to Alexan­dria, to un­der­mine the power of the city. Ci­tadel of Qait­bay

The cas­tle was built by the Mam­luk Sul­tan Al-Ashraf Qait­bay in the 15th cen­tury AD and was oc­cu­pied by the French army dur­ing their cam­paign against Egypt in 1799, a few days af­ter the bat­tle of Abukir and they named it Ju­lian’s Fortress.

In that par­tic­u­lar place, the Rosetta stone was dis­cov­ered, which de­ci­phered the hi­ero­glyphic writ­ing. Af­ter the French army took con­trol of the fortress, and dur­ing its restora­tion, the mil­i­tary force led by Lieu­tenant Bouchard dis­cov­ered the Rosetta stone in­side the ci­tadel. It is likely that those who built the fortress at the time of the Mam­luks had brought it from an­other place (pos­si­bly the Tem­ple of Sais) and used it to build the cas­tle.

The stone was a royal de­cree is­sued by the priests in mem­ory of Ptolemy the Fifth, and thus the three writ­ings of hi­ero­glyph­ics, de­motic, and Greek, in cel­e­bra­tion of the corona­tion of him as a king and his or­der to ex­empt tem­ples from taxes.

The Ci­tadel of Qait­bay has two floors, the first for gun hold­ers and the sec­ond for ar­row hold­ers.They also placed on the doors of the cas­tle con­tain­ers of boiled oil, in case en­e­mies ap­proached the door, they would pour the oil on them, and then launch burn­ing ar­rows as the oil helped spread fire over the rest of the at­tack­ing army.

Rashid’s ar­chi­tec­ture is quite dif­fer­ent from the ar­chi­tec­ture of any other city.The houses were built of black and red stone. They de­ter­mined how the first floor will be built ac­cord­ing to the pro­fes­sion of the house owner. Mer­chants built a place for stor­ing grains on the first floor and army men built a re­cep­tion room and an of­fice for their guests.

Maysoun House

This house wit­nessed the love story of the French leader Me­nou and the Egyptian wo­man Zubaida, a res­i­dent of Rashid.This house is the home of Zubaida,the wife of the French cam­paign leader in Egypt Me­nou. Me­nou loved Egypt and Egyp­tians and he wanted to marry an Egyptian wo­man, but he ac­tu­ally fell in love with two women. The first one was the daugh­ter of the mosque’s sheikh, and the sec­ond was Zubaida, the daugh­ter of one of the traders in Rashid.

How­ever, when the sheikh knew that Me­nou wanted to marry his daugh­ter, he made one of his dis­ci­ples marry her.There­fore, Me­nou de­cided to marry Zubaida, af­ter he be­came a Mus­lim.

Then Me­nou left Egypt with Zubaida, and when he and their son died, peo­ple be­lieve she re­turned to that house, but no one knows for sure what hap­pened.

The house con­sists of four floors. It also has two doors; the small one was for daily use and the large door was for guests.

Since the fa­ther and grand­fa­ther of Zubaida were mer­chants, the first floor was a place to store grain. The sec­ond floor was a “salamlk”, the men’s floor.

The third and fourth floors were “hara­malk”, floors des­ig­nated for women. In the roof of the house was the so-called “shakhshikh”, which is a hole in the ceil­ing made of glass to al­low the light to en­ter the two floors of the hara­malk.

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