The Amiri Press or Amiriya Press (Arabic: المطبعة الأميرية, المطابع الأميرية) (Al-Matba'a al-Amiriya) (also known as the Bulaq Press (مطبعة بولاق) due to its original location in Bulaq[1]) is a printing press, and one of the main agencies with which Muhammad Ali Pasha modernized Egypt.[2][3] The Amiri Press had a profound effect on Egyptian literature and intellectual life in the country and in the greater region, as scientific works in European languages were translated into Arabic.[4]

One of the 25 of January marches passing before the Amiria Press Authority in Imbaba.


A lithography stamp at the Bulaq Press.
Wooden letter blocks used at the Bulaq Press in 1820.

The process began in 1815 when Muhammad Ali Pasha, four years into his reign over Egypt, sent a mission to Milan to learn the craft of printing and type-founding, as well as purchase printing presses.[5][6]

The Amiri Press was established in 1820 and opened officially in the Bulaq neighborhood of Cairo during the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha in 1821.[6] It published its first book in 1822: an Arabic-Italian dictionary prepared by the Syrian priest Anton Zakhūr Rafa'il.[6][7]

In the beginning, the press published military books for the Egyptian army, but it soon developed and started to print literary books, science books, and textbooks.[8] It was also Cairo's most active and important Turkish-language press.[9]

Jurnal al-Khidiw, first published 1821-1822, was the first printed Arabic periodical:[10]

The Jurnal, a bilingual Turkish-Arabic bulletin, was little more than a domestic circular intended for official consumption. With as run as small as 100 copies, it was designed for no other purpose than to keep the vali himself and his chief aides informed of state affairs. Handwritten at first, it was subsequently printed lithographically, appearing irregularly for a while before it became a weekly and later a daily publication.[11]

The Jurnal was succeeded by Al-Waqa'i' al-Misriyya, first published December 3, 1828, with a run of about 600 copies.[10] It was not sold to the public, but rather printed irregularly and distributed to a chosen state elite.[10]

In the Tanzimat period (1839-1876), the Bulaq Press helped circulate the "unprecedented" volume of Islamic literature that was being translated into Ottoman Turkish.[12]

In October 1862, Muhammad Sa'id Pasha gave the press to Abdurrahman Bik Rushdi. It was then purchased by Isma'il Pasha who added it to the Da'ira Sunnia (الدائرة السنية), or the royal possessions. Publications in this time included a Quran with commentary by Al-Zamakhshari.[13]

The Amiri Press returned to the possession of the state in 1880, during the reign of Tewfik Pasha.

In 1905, the Amiri Press developed a new naskh-based typeface for body text. It served as the primary inspiration for the Amiri font, a naskh script designed by Dr. Khaled Hosny for typesetting body text.[14][15][16]

In 1924 they published the iconic 1342 Cairo text, or King Fu'ad Quran—the first printed edition of the Quran to be accepted by an Islamic authority: Al-Azhar Mosque.[17] A large number of pre-1924 Qurans were destroyed by dumping them in the River Nile.[18]

On August 13, 1956, Gamal Abdel Nasser passed Law 312 of 1956 ordering the establishment of the Amiria Press Authority under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Trade & Industry. The first meeting of its administration—headed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry's administrator at the time, Aziz Sedky—was held on September 1, 1956. The ministry later decided to build a new 35,000 m2 building for the Amiria Press Authority, and equip it with state-of-the-art printing technology to spread its messages.

The Amiria Press Authority officially began operations at its new location on July 28, 1973 during the Sadat administration under Ibrahim Salem Muhammadin, Minister of Trade and Industry at the time.

Publications of the Amiria Press AuthorityEdit

  • The Official Journal [ar]: the official state-run newspaper, published every Thursday
  • Al-Waqa'i' al-Masriyya (Egyptian Affairs): the oldest newspaper in Egypt, published as an appendix of the Official Journal and published daily except Fridays and holidays
  • Other publications—government publications, legal books, calendars, and the Sherif Quranic Press


External linksEdit


  1. ^ Gehan, Selim (2017). Unfinished places : the politics of (re)making Cairo's old quarters. London. ISBN 9781138860940. OCLC 962752615.
  2. ^ "The Bulaq Press". Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  3. ^ Verdery, Richard N. (1971). "Brief Communications: The Publications of the Bulaq Press Under Muhammad Ali of Egypt" (PDF). Journal of the American Oriental Society. 91 (1): 129–132. doi:10.2307/600448. JSTOR 600448 – via
  4. ^ Okerson, Ann (2009). "Near East Collection: Early Arabic Printing". Yale University Library.
  5. ^ "مطبعة بولاق، مراحل إنشاء مطبعة بولاق". Retrieved 2022-04-20.
  6. ^ a b c Roper, Geoffrey, ed. (2014-01-01). Historical Aspects of Printing and Publishing in Languages of the Middle East. doi:10.1163/9789004255975. ISBN 9789004255975.
  7. ^ "النشاط المعجمي بين العربية والإيطالية (ج3)". (in Arabic). Retrieved 2022-04-20.
  8. ^ "The Bulaq Press". Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  9. ^ Ihsanoglu, Ekmeleddin (2012). The Turks in Egypt and their Cultural Legacy. Translated by Davies, Humphrey. American University in Cairo Press. ISBN 9789774163975.
  10. ^ a b c Nemeth, Titus (20 July 2017). Arabic type-making in the machine age : the influence of technology on the form of Arabic type, 1908-1993. ISBN 978-90-04-34930-8. OCLC 1030364292.
  11. ^ Ayalon, Ami (1995-05-04). The Press in the Arab Middle East. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195087802.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-508780-2.
  12. ^ Abu-Manneh, Butrus (November 1994). "The Islamic Roots of the Gulhane Rescript". Die Welt des Islams. 34 (2): 173–203. doi:10.2307/1570929. ISSN 0043-2539. JSTOR 1570929.
  13. ^ Brockett, Adrian Alan, Studies in two transmissions of the Qur'an, p11
  14. ^ Hosny, Khaled (2012). "The Amiri typeface" (PDF). TUGboat. 33: 12.
  15. ^ "مشروع الخط الأميري :: Amiri Font Project". Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  16. ^ "Google Fonts". Google Fonts. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  17. ^ Conidi, Emanuela. Arabic types in Europe and the Middle East, 1514-1924 : challenges in the adaptation of the Arabic script from written to printed form. OCLC 1079208428.
  18. ^ Reynolds, GS Introduction: Qur’anic studies and its controversies

Content in this edit is translated from the existing Arabic Wikipedia article at ar:المطابع الأميرية; see its history for attribution.