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LOCAL TIME IN Rosetta {Rasheed}

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Rosetta {Rasheed} Travel Guide

Rosetta {Rasheed} Travel Guide 

It’s hard to believe that this dusty town, squatting on the western branch of the Nile 65km northeast of Alexandria, was once Egypt’s most significant port. Locally known as Rasheed, Rosetta was founded in the 9th century and outgrew Alexandria in importance during that town’s 18th- and 19th- century decline. Alas, as Alexandria got back on its feet and regained power in the late 19th century, Rosetta was thrust once again into near irrelevance.

Today Rosetta is most famous as the discovery place of the stone stele that provided the key to deciphering hieroglyphics. It strikes a contrast with the modern turmoil of nearby Alexandria – the streets are packed with donkeys pulling overloaded carts, basket-weavers artfully working fronds and blacksmiths hammering away in medieval-looking shop fronts.

Rosetta’s main draw is its striking Islamic architecture, in the form of beautifully crafted Ottoman-era merchants’ houses. There are at least 22 of them tucked away along the streets but unfortunately, most are undergoing renovation and are not open to visitors.

Rosetta sees very few foreign visitors, reflected in the poor standard of the streets, as well as the halt of the many restoration projects, started years ago.
Rosetta’s claim to fame as the many fine examples of Delta architecture, dating back to Ottoman times. The houses in Rosetta all follow very strict patterns. The houses are usually 4 stories tall, they have wooden windows, mashrabyyias, of intricate patterns and the walls are made of tiles making patterns of red and black, with protruding white joints.

The houses, of which there are about 22, are spread across a limited area, and a tour of Rosetta should take no more than 70 minutes altogether. In between taking time to visit the two old mosques of Rosetta, and end your visit with a walk down to the Nile to look at the unique large colorful fishing boats. At the time of writing, the sights open to the public were the House of Amasyali, House of Abu Shaheen and Hammam Azouz.

Updated on 1 May 2019