Every year, Egyptians celebrate the 6 October victory 1973 over Israel. To learn more about this triumph, the October War Panorama, is your destination where a well-organised tour takes you through the chain of events from preparations for the war until the final showdown.
At the entrance, you are directed to a waiting area outside the circular panorama building. After a few minutes, a guide accompanies you to the outdoor show, where you can take photos of materiel that was used in the war, including tanks, artillery, aircraft, the wreckage of an Israeli A-4 Skyhawk, an Egyptian Air Force MiG-21, and an Israeli M60.
After the ten-minute tour of the outdoor area, you are taken back inside the air-conditioned circular building.
The October War, the most recent war in Middle East history, started with a surprise Arab attack on Israel on Saturday, 6 October 1973 (10 Ramadan).
Egyptian and Syrian military forces launched an attack and crossed cease-fire lines to enter the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights respectively, which had been captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Arab and other regional nations assisted the Egyptians and Syrians.
One of the greatest achievements during the war was the breaching of the Bar-Lev Line, a series of defensive fortifications that ran along the eastern coast of the Suez Canal. It was built by Israel after its occupation of Sinai after the 1967 war to secure the east bank of the Suez Canal and prevent Egyptian forces from crossing it. The line was named after Haim Bar-Lev, the Israeli military leader, and it cost about $500 million to build.
The Bar-Lev Line is an earthen embankment of great height – from 20 to 22 metres – and a slope of 45 degrees on the side facing the canal.
It also had fixed positions for tanks and bomber stations in case they were called in an emergency. At its base were pipes pouring into the Suez Canal to ignite the surface of the canal with napalm in the event of an attempt to cross the waterway by Egyptian forces.
The Panorama was opened in 1989 with the help of North Korean architects.
On entering inside the circular panorama building, you are led along the curved wall past a display of tableaux in granite and wall paintings of the most important military battles that the Egyptian army fought through ages. Under each painting is information about these battles in English and Arabic. In addition, advanced weaponry newly introduced to the Egyptian army are on display in hologram screens.
Visitors are guided into the first hall for a 15-minute black-and-white film about what happening after the 1967 Six-Day War until President’s Nasser’s death on 28 September 1970 and preparations for the October war.
You then go up three storeys to the round theatre, where there is a giant mural documenting the October war accompanied with audio commentary. The rotation of the theatre takes 18 minutes.
Everything is brought to life in this panoramic view. The palm trees, stones, weapons, trenches and tanks make a foreground that you could almost touch, while warplanes and helicopters sweep across an oil-painted sky, and soldiers are running, raising the flag, tending the injured and rounding up captives.
The October War Panorama is on Salah Salem Road, Nasr City. It is open daily. For more information, please call: 02 2402 23