If the tourist walks through Cairo's downtown he will be astonished that there are plenty of old houses, office and apartment buildings, beautiful but silent relics of the past, which give him the feeling not of Cairo, but of being suddenly transported to a strange worn-out copy of Paris from the turn of the century one hundred years ago. To him, the buildings seem to speak. The tourist has the feeling they want to tell him their story, but the heavy dust on their facades muffles their voices, and the rest of their whisper is drowned out by the infernal traffic noise.

For decades this heritage was in danger of being lost. Due to a lack of money, or the landlord's will, it only seemed to be a question of time before the last of these witnesses became silent forever, disappearing behind giant neon lights, replaced by colorless, shiny new buildings. This danger isn't over, but there are hopeful signs that at least a part of this heritage can be preserved. The Caf Riche is such a sign, and in a different way the restaurant La Bodega in Zamalek, too where ever individual passionate enthusiasts are at work with much love and energy. Another sign is the so-called Golden Triangle quarter around the stock exchange, the Cairo Bourse. In the middle of this area we find the Cosmopolitan Hotel.