Cairo, Egypt, Notable Links, Photos

Medina Zabaleen

‘Medina Zabaleen’ translates to City of the Garbage People in English. These photos were taken by Ali from the village road leading up to the Mokatum Mountain, St. Samaan Church. The people living in this area collect the rubbish from all over the city of Cairo, load it in their trucks and take it back to Garbage City. There they sort through it, placing recyclable materials in like piles. They then sell these materials on. This is the informal ‘recycling center’ of Cairo. Before the pigs were culled, edible materials from the rubbish were fed to them. This is just a glimpse into Garbage City, on the road in. The majority of the people in this area are Christian.

Walk in my shoes

Garbage City

Garbage City

On Top of Rubbish

I’ve chosen some photos to demonstrate the large bags of rubbish/recyclable materials being brought in, sorted and stored. For some highlights of village life, check at Free As Trees Photography throughout the next week where one photo will be posted daily. For the full set, visit my Garbage City set on flickr. The people were generally happy and welcoming. There were children playing in the streets, bringing empty water jugs to a well to be filled (the girls), and jumping on the back of trucks for a ride (the boys). There were men smoking shishas, women sorting through rubbish. Men shifting mud, a boy leading a goat heard. A father and son selling hot sweat potatoes with a picture of Jesus on their stand. A donkey pulling a wagon full of freshly picked spring onions and a man later preparing them for sale. Snipits into every day life in a place so close to where we live, but also so far away.

This week at SXSW Festival, a film called Garbage Dreams will make its debut. This film follows the lives of three boys living in Garbage City whose jobs are to collect and sort the rubbish. This is the largest garbage village in the world. The website has more background information on the area.


1 thought on “Medina Zabaleen”

  1. Wow.. I had no idea a place like that even existed. It sure makes you think about all the things you throw away.


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