Maadi (Egyptian Arabic: المعادى el-Maʿādi ) is a leafy and once suburban district in the Southern Area of Cairo,Egypt. On the east bank of the Nile about 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) upriver from downtown Cairo. The modern extensions north east and east of Maadi. New Maadi and Zahraa al-Maadi are administratively part of the Basatin district.
The Nile at Maadi is parallel to the Corniche, a waterfront promenade and the main road north into Cairo. There is no bridge across the Nile at Maadi; the nearest one is located at El Mounib along the Ring Road (Tarik El-Da’eri, English: The Round Road) on the way north to the downtown.
Maadi’s population was estimated to be 85,000 according to the 2017 census. The district is popular with international expatriates as well as Egyptians and is home to many embassies, as well as major international schools, sporting clubs, and cultural institutions such as the Supreme Constitutional Court Of Egypt and the national Egyptian Geological Museum.
Maadi is the plural form of the word meʿaddeyya (معدية ), which means “ferry”; hence, el-Maadi literally means “The ferries”. There was a story that the name comes from a ferry crossing in the area where ferries carried people from the east side of the Nile to the west.
In fact,Maadi today stands on the site of a town that has turned out to be a significant Predynastic, Ancient Egyptian archaeological site, founded ca. 3500 B.C. Building activity in the area has destroyed some archaeologically sensitive places.
In Middle ages the area of Maadi became a Coptic monastic region comprising Deir at-Tin (Arabic: دير الطين, Coptic: ⲡⲓⲙⲟⲛⲁⲥⲧⲉⲣⲓⲟⲛ ⲙ̀ⲡⲓⲟⲙⲓ, ‘monastery of mud’) and Deir al-Adawiya (Arabic: دير العدوية, Coptic: ϯⲕⲁⲗⲁⲃⲏ).
Maadi traces its modern history to 1904. When the railway between Cairo to the north and Helwan to the south was there. This, in combination with land speculation by the Mosseri cousins and city planning by Alexander Adams, gave rise to a new town.
In fact,the town planning was done in 1905 by a Canadian retired officer Captain Alexander J. Adams. His vision led to the wide boulevards and large villas still seen in Maadi today. There were very strict rules hve residential development in Maadi with regards to the size of houses. How much of the property could be occupied by the house and how much had to be left for the garden. And the size of the sidewalks. Even window shutters had prescribed colours. Other regulations included wireless radio noise control after 22:00 and fines for not maintaining gardens properly.
An example of British colonial life there is in The house at there. A short story by Gerald Bullett from his collection The street of the eye (1923).