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Friday, March 25, 2016

Bonus Cairo Department Store Post

When I took pictures of the old Omar Effendi department store and started looking for information about it for my blog post, I had Googled old department store in downtown Cairo and looked at the resulting images.  Of course, I found Omar Effendi and, knowing the name, found lots of information.

But there were other images of a large building with a globe on top.  What was that?  I didn't spend much time on it.

A couple of days ago, however, we were downtown again.  This time we were across from the Ramses train station at the post office.  Linda looked across the square and spotted a large domed building.  Yes, it was that "other department store."
TiringDepartmentStore-2

I didn't get a chance to get close and do a good job of photographing it for you, so you will just have to settle for a couple of blow-ups from that image.
TiringDepartmentStore-1 TiringDepartmentStore-3

Hmmmm.  Maybe it is best left photographed from afar.  This turns out to be the old "Tiring" department store which you discern from the name in the bottom right of the left photo.

Tiring-1-1 Tiring-1


I will direct you to a series of much better pictures apparently taken by George Richards and posted by the Cairo Observer from about 2008 and earlier.  There is a nice article in the Observer that goes with the pictures.
The store was founded in 1910 by Victor Tiring, an Austrian merchant born in Istanbul who specialized in Turkish tailoring. The Tiring family had built its first store in Vienna in 1882. The building was designed by Oscar Horowitz, a Czech architect who studied in Vienna and who designed similar shopping destinations within the Austro-Hungarian sphere. The Tiring Store in Cairo was completed in 1912 and when it opened it was the city’s premier shopping destination for imported luxury goods.
The store didn't last long  (World War I problems) and apparently has been abandoned for a long time.

It is worth taking a look at just for the four statues of Atlas holding up the globe.

There is an older article about the store in the Egyptian Gazette of January 22, 1997 by Samir Raafat.

The article opens with a movie reference:
In the recently released Arabic motion picture Al Tofaha (1997), Egyptian superstar Laila Elwi who plays the role of a voluptuous lustful newlywed is in awe of the four  statues of Atlas on whose shoulders rests the Tiring department store glass globe. Each morning, to the astonishment of her adoring husband and neighbors, Elwi addresses, implores and cajoles the statues from her slummy one-room shack atop a neighboring building on Ataba Square. Glaring back at her are six faded letters written in Latin script: TIRING.
The article goes on to provide more details on the Tiring family.  Interestingly, it attracted a comment from a Tiring descendant, Sam Raff, of Great Neck, NY:
My grandparents lived in Cairo and owned the Tiring department store (beginning WW-1) near Ataba Square. My grandfather had the title Raff "Bey" and he lost his business at the beginning of WW-1 because he was an Austrian citizen.

My parent's names were Max Hersch Raff and Anna Raff. My grandmother's maiden name was Stein whose family owned the Stein department store across the street from Tiring.
If we are lucky, the building will still be standing next year and I will gather better pictures.  (sharp-eyed readers should probably ponder the similarity of names between the author, Samir Raafat, and the commenter, Sam Raff!)
        

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