The October War Panorama on Oruba St
Today we went to the October War Panorama in Medinet Nasr. We took Bus #170 from Zamalek which dropped us right outside. It just took awhile as the traffic snarls up at Abbassiyya. This was built with the help of Kim Il-Sung's North Korean government to commemorate Egypt's victory over Israel in the Yom Kippur war. First we watched a short film of actual footage from the war, which despite the Arabic-only commentary would have been really interesting if not for the dark and badly focused film which strained our eyes. Next we went into a darkened room containing a scale model of the canal painted green and orange with model boats and aircraft flipping back and forth and helicopters and weaponry twirling on the ground a la Thunderbirds. Then it was on to the panorama itself, which really was a work of art complete with begging Israeli officers and Egyptian soldiers hoisting flags Iwo Jima-style with heroic commentary such as "the Egyptian flag was raised triumphantly" and "the Long Arm was crushed, never to be raised again" all accompanied by a triumphant anthem and the familiar Allahu Akbar battlecry. The Egyptians in the audience clapped along. Other parts of the
Me and Erin
Eagerly awaiting entry
memorial featured reliefs of famous Egyptian battles from Pharaonic times, to the Crusades, to modern times and outside was an open-air museum featuring tanks and aircraft from both sides that had been used in the war. A great day, and well worth the effort it takes to get there. Whatever you do, don't buy drinks at the cafetaria. A can of Pepsi cost us LE7.5, three times what you would normally be charged.
From Lonely Planet Cairo:
Built with help from North Korean artists, this memorial to the 1973 "victory" over Israel is quite an extraordinary propaganda effort. Contained within the purpose-built, cylindrical structure is a large combined 3D mural and diorama depicting the breaching of the Bar Lev Line on the Suez Canal by Egyptian forces and the initial retreats by the Israelis. A stirring commentary recounts the heroic victories but is short on detail on the successful Israeli counterattack that pushed the Egyptians back to within 100km of Cairo before both sides accepted a UN-brokered ceasefire. Sinai was eventually liberated by negotiation six years later.
From Rough Guide Egypt:
Construction was supervised by North Korean technicians and it shows: the building looks like a pavilion in
some Communist themei park of the 1950s and is decorated with Maoist-style reliefs, but instead of East Asian peasants and workers striding purposefully forward, it's Egyptian soldiers in front of the pyramids. Showings start with two rather silly dioramas illustrating the opening round of the October War and culminate in a really quite impressive 3D panorama of the war in Sinai, during which the audience is rotated around 360 degrees to take it all in. The commentary explains the action with such phrases as "the glorious minutes passed rapidly" and the whole thing is so over the top in its triumphalism that you might almost think the Egyptians had actually won the October War.
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