Coptic Orthodox Liturgical Chant & Hymnody
The Ragheb Moftah Collection at the Library of Congress
Map Detail: General Map of Cairo 
This map, just after World War I, is a very detailed map of Cairo, with streets, landmarks and gardens indicated on either side of the blue Nile. Several areas are of special interest in this map. 1) Just below the train terminal at the upper center is El Faggala in Cairo, where Ragheb Moftah was born. 2) In the late 1920s and mid-1930s, Moftah moored his houseboat on the eastern shore of the Nile near the Semiramis Hotel, just above Garden City. It was on this houseboat that the great cantor Batanūnī sang Coptic hymns while Ernest Newlandsmith transcribed them. This area on the eastern side of the Nile below the Kasr El Nil Bridge and the Semiramis Hotel was formerly known as the Kasr El Dobarah area (Dobarah Palace). Ragheb Moftah recalled vividly the first time he heard Batanūnī chant on his houseboat, saying: “We were on a Golden ship in the Nile in front of the El-Dobara Palace [Kasr el-Dobarah]. Under us, still water of the Nile flew in peace and we were surrounded by wonderful gardens on both banks.” (This information was kindly provided by Laurence Moftah, citing an article written by Ragheb Moftah, “The History of Recording Coptic Hymns & the History of Moalem Mikhail [al-Mu’allim Mikhail]” in El-Kezara Magazine, 1975. (view full article online ) -- accessed 2 July 2009.