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Legendary Cairo cafe reopens

Four months after it closed following the death of its owner, downtown Cairo's Café Riche has become home again to the Arab intellectuals, revolutionaries and politicians who have frequented it since its inception in 1908.
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CAIRO — Central Cairo's 17 Talaat Harb Street is an address many Egyptian intellectuals know by heart. It is where Café Riche, one of the most famous cafés in Cairo, is located. The café reopened its doors in early October after being closed for four months following the death of its owner, Magdi Abdel Malak, in May. The café has resumed receiving the Arab intellectual, revolutionary and political visitors it has always hosted since its inception in 1908.

The café was established on the ruins of a palace that belonged to Mohammed Ali Tewfik Basha, a cousin of King Farouk, that dated back to 1836. After the palace was destroyed in 1908, the Jewish Ada family built the French-style café, which was later bought by wealthy Austrian Bernard Steinberg, who resided in Egypt at the time, on Oct. 26, 1914. Steinberg then sold it in 1915 to the French Pierre-Henry Ressigné, who named it “Café Riche” after a famous café in Paris. Many wealthy foreigners lived in Egypt during this era, and the British Mandate was imposed on Egypt in 1882, partly to protect these foreign nationals.

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