The view is a snapshot of three competing visions for Egypt. The distant mosque represents the controversial legacy of a dynasty that had ruled until 1952; the Turkish patriarch Mohammed Ali Pasha is sometimes honoured as the “father of modern Egypt” because he opened the country culturally and institutionally to the West. His grandson, Khedive Ismail, built the square that temporarily bore his name to a French design. He is perhaps better known for the Suez Canal, which ran Egypt into irreparable debt to European creditors, tipping the country into the arms of British imperial control. Nasser’s UAR was another push toward modernization, a heavily subsidized transit system turning Midan Al-Tahrir into a commuter hub for a growing population of urban workers; the bus depot is this period’s triumphal arch.