Mahalla al-Kubra, al-

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Egyptian city in the Nile delta.

Mahalla al-Kubra is a city (pop. 395,000 in 1996) located near the center of the Nile delta, some sixty miles (96.5 km) north of Cairo, in the province of Gharbiya. The climate is, like much of Egypt along the Mediterranean, relatively wetter than that of Cairo, with humidity averaging about 60 percent. Winter temperatures range from 4366F° (619C°), while summer ranges from 6388F° (1731C°).

The delta is the great cotton-growing area of Egypt, and the principal industry of Mahalla is cotton-textile production, as it was for much of the twentieth century. Mahalla is, in fact, the center of the Egyptian textile industry, but rice and flour mills are also important. The area has been associated with textiles for a long time, since silk weaving became important there in the Middle Ages. In 1927, Egypt's Bank Misr created the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company therea giant modern industrial plant and one of the three largest industrial undertakings in Egypt (the other two being a sugar refinery in Giza province and a textile firm in Alexandria). As of 2002, textile production accounted for about a quarter of Egypt's industrial revenues.


Davis, Eric. Challenging Colonialism: Bank Misr and Egyptian Industrialization, 1920-1941. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983.

Goldberg, Ellis. Tinker, Tailor, and Textile Worker: Class and Politics in Egypt, 1930-1952. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

ellis goldberg