Cairo Sights

Nilometer

  • Shar'a al-Malek as-Salih Map It
  • Rodah Island
  • Memorial/Monument/Tomb

Published 01/10/2017

Fodor's Review

At the southern end of Rodah Island, al-miqyas (the Nilometer) was used from pharaonic times until the completion of the Aswan Dam in the late 1950s to measure the height of the flood. If the Nile rose above 16 cubits (a cubit is about 2 feet), no flood tax would be levied that year. Needless to say, this was a ceremony that the populace followed with great interest—and if the floods were plentiful, with great celebration.

Built in 861 on the site of an earlier Nilometer, the present structure is considered to be the oldest extant Islamic building (the conical dome is an 1895 restoration). Inside is a shaft that houses the graduated column that served as the measuring device. Note a small museum for Umm Kolthoum (famous Egyptian singer, songwriter, and actress) in a building nearby, with personal effects including her iconic wardrobes.

Sight Information

Address:

Southern tip of Rodah Island, Shar'a al-Malek as-Salih, Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

Map It

Sight Details:

  • £E15

Published 01/10/2017

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