The establishment of the Muhammad Ali dynasty in 1805 ushered in a new era of Egyptian prosperity, the legacy of which is most visible in the various developments that took place in Cairo. Although Muhammad Ali began the process of modernization in Egypt, he did not oversee much construction in Cairo itself, besides the impressive Mosque of Muhammad Ali, which was built in Cairo’s old citadel. Much of Cairo’s most impressive architecture dates to the reign of Ismail, who began the construction of a French inspired quarter which represented a stark contrast to the winding narrow streets of the old city. In 1865 the banks of the Nile were stabilized, a vital project that allowed the city to spread westwards over the next century. European interests in the Suez Canal, and British oversight of the Egyptian economy, meant that new developments to house the Europeans appeared throughout the suburbs in the early 20th century.
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