Roda Island (or Rawdah Island, Arabic: جزيرة الروضة, Jazīrat ar-Rawdah [ɡɪˈziːɾɪt eɾˈɾoːdɑ]) is an island neighbourhood in the Nile in central Cairo, alternatively or partially known as Manial al-Roda, or al-Manial, in reference to the main village that existed on the island before it was urbanised, and is part of the Misr al-Qadima district.
History of Roda Island
The island was known in Antiquity as Babylonian Island (Ancient Greek: Νῆσος Βαβυλῶνος), referring to the Babylon Fortress.
During the reign of caliph Sulaymān ibn ʿAbd al-Malik of the Umayyad dynasty, Egyptians built a nilometer on the southern tip of the island opposite the mouth of the Khalij canal in AD 715 to measure the annual Nile flood. The structure was replaced in AD 861, during the reign of the Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil, overseen by the astronomer Alfraganus, and despite a number of modifications, is still extant today and known as the Roda Island Nilometer.
The Ayyubid Sultan as-Salih Ayyub (Reigned 1240 to 1249, great-nephew of Saladin) built a palace at the southern tip of the island near the nilometer.
The mamluk Bahri dynasty originally settled on Roda Island at the palace. The name of the dynasty, “Bahriyya”, means ‘of the river’, referring to their original settlement on the island on the Nile.
Viceroy Ibrahim Pasha started to plan and grow The Bostan al-Kebir (Great Gardens) on the island in 1829, of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty. In 1851 the Manasterly Palace, also known as the Kiosk was built on the island’s southern tip on the ruins of the Ayyubid palace for Hassan Fouad Pasha Al-Manasterly, Katkhoda of Egypt during the reign of Abbas I. Later in the early 20th Century the Prince Muhammad Ali Palace was built in the island’s mid-north.
Today, the island is a bustling neighbourhood of Cairo.
c.1800 map of Roda Island
Wooden bridge near the Nilometer
The Roda Island Nilometer, and island in the Nile
The Manasterly Palace
Roda Island, Biban al-Muluk, is a small island in the Nile River in Old Cairo
Roda Island has a long history dating back to the Roman era, They used it as a military base. Also, a center of administration. During the Islamic era, the island was a residence for the Fatimid caliphs and their families. It was also a place of refuge for scholars and religious leaders.
Today, Roda Island is a popular tourist destination for its beautiful gardens, historic buildings, and cultural attractions. The island is home to several important landmarks, including the Mosque of Amr ibn al-Aas. Arab general Amr ibn al-Aas built it during the early Islamic era. In addition to the Ben Ezra Synagogue, which is one of the oldest synagogues in the world.
In addition to its historic landmarks, People knew it for its beautiful gardens and parks. They are home to a variety of plants and trees. The island is a popular spot for picnics and leisurely walks, and its peaceful atmosphere makes it an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Its rich history, beautiful gardens, and cultural attractions make it a truly unique and unforgettable experience.