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March 31, 2022

Vintage Photographs of Egypt From Between the 1860s and 1890s

The Adelphoi Zangaki (Zangaki Brothers) were two brothers of Greek origin, active as photographers in Ottoman Egypt from the 1860s through to the 1890s. Little is known about them, except their initials, C. and G., and that they worked out of Port Said and Cairo from around the 1860s through to at least the 1890s. Many of the Zangaki photographs are signed with a brother's initial and/or a place of business, e.g., “C. Zangaki” or “Zangaki, Cairo” or occasionally “A. Zangaki”.

The two brothers specialized in photographing ancient monuments and scenes of everyday life, producing photographic prints for the tourist trade, but it remains unclear how they came to learn photography. However, shortly after their arrival in Egypt they had become established photographers with studios in Cairo and Port Said. 

The Zangaki brothers traveled along the Nile, accompanied by a horse-drawn darkroom wagon to document the Egyptian scenery, architecture and events. Their pictures included views of the pyramids at Giza or the Sphinx and cities, as well of Egyptians going about their daily lives. They occasionally worked with the French photographer Hippolyte Arnoux in Port Said, documenting the works on the Suez Canal. They were also among the first commercial photographers to produce large-scale images of late 19th- century Egypt.

River view, Alexandria

Students in the Al-Azhar Mosque, Cairo

Flooded banks of the Nile

Caravan passing a dredging barge

European tourists and local guides climb one of the pyramids at Giza

Bicharin soldier

Bicharin soldier on a camel

Bicharin woman

Bicharin man

Bicharin men on camels

Obelisk of Heliopolis

Palm grove near the pyramids

Young boy with donkey

Two Arab women

Turkish dancer

Turkish woman on couch

Nubian man

Arabic professor, Cairo


The Great Sphinx of Giza

Vendors in a bazaar

Camel riders near the pyramids

The mummy of Seti I & the mummy of Ramesses II

Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqar

Men at the entrance to the Great Pyramid of Giza

Tourist and guides with camel

A ship in the Suez Canal

(via Rijksmuseum, Europeana)


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