El Mansoura

El Mansurah (also spelled as Mansoura; Arabic: المنصورة, al-manṣūrah) is a city in Egypt, with a population of 420,000. It is the capital of Ad Daqahliyah Governorate.

1- Etymology

Mansoura means 'The Victorious (feminine)' from the noun (نصر), meaning 'victory'. This is from the Egyptian victory in the battle of El Mansurah over Louis IX of France during the Seventh Crusade.

2- Location

Mansurah lies on the east bank of the Damietta branch of River Nile, in the delta region. Mansurah is about 120 km northeast of Cairo and 40 km north of the town of Mit Ghamr. Across from El Mansurah, on the opposite bank of the Nile, is the town of Talkha. Mansura and Talkha together form a metropolitan city just like Cairo and Giza.

3- History

Mansurah was established in 1219 by Saladin's brother, Abu-Bakr Malik Al-Adil I (also known as Saphadin) of the Ayyubid dynasty. After the Egyptians defeated the Crusaders on its land during the Seventh Crusade it was named El Mansurah—"The Victorious").

In the Seventh Crusade, the French were defeated and put to flight; between fifteen and thirty thousand of their men fell on the battlefield. Louis IX of France was captured in the main Battle of Mansurah and confined in the house of Ibrahim ­ben Lokman, secretary to the sultan, and under the guard of the eunuch Sobih. The king's brother was made prisoner at the same time, and carried to the same house. The sultan provided for their sustenance. The house in now the only museum in Al Mansurah, is open to the public and houses articles that used to belong to the French monarch, including his personal thirteenth century toilet.

The Mansura Air Battle on 14 October 1973 occurred during the Yom Kippur War, also known as the Ramadan War or the October War. Israeli Air Force fighters attacking Egyptian air bases were intercepted by the Egyptian Air Force. In fifty minutes, outnumbered EAF pilots shot down more than their share of Israeli fighters; Israel acknowledged seven or fewer losses, but Egypt claimed between fifteen and twenty IAF fighters. Egypt announced the loss of only six planes, only three of which fell to Israeli fire. To Arabs, Al Mansura was the greatest and most storied victory of Arab fighter pilots against the IAF.

4- Culture

Dakahliya province is famous for producing some of the most acclaimed Egyptians in the fields of science, engineering, medicine and arts. Most famous among them is the chanteuse Umm Kolthoum. There is a square bearing her name in the city, where her statue stands.

The Egyptian Arabic dialect spoken by Mansurah's population is, broadly speaking, northern Egyptian Arabic but with a noticeable influence from the surrounding rural villages, each of which have, over the years, contributed to the city's population. There are some similarities to Alexandrian Egyptian Arabic in some aspects of pronunciation.

Like Cairo and Alexandria, Mansurah was home to a flourishing Greek community until the Nasser era, when many were forced to leave. Many of the older and best established shops and businesses around the city still bear their original Greek names. The first English school in the city was established on the site of the old Greek school in the Toriel area, one of the traditionally relatively affluent residential districts of the city.

Mansurah University was founded in 1962, initially as a branch of Cairo University. The Urology and Nephrology center of Mansoura University is considered by many as the best kidney center in the Middle East and Africa. Besides being a major commercial and administrative center in the, largely rural, Dakahliya district, it could be described as primarily a 'university town'.

Mansurah also has a sports stadium which is home to its football team. Despite the city's ranking as the 'third Egyptian city'[citation needed], none of the African Nations Cup 2006 games were played there when Egypt hosted the tournament. Dakahliya's most famous beach, Gamasa, is to the north of the city.