A narrow street in the calm neighborhood of Zamalek leads you to a wider area where a blue banner reads Bahaa Eddin Qaraqosh Street, according to official records, while residents of the area call it Abdel Halim Hafez Street, named after a famous Egyptian singer.
Fans of Abdel Halim, sometimes called the “Brown Nightingale”, have been meeting under a building of the balcony of his apartment on the seventh floor for decades.
Zahraa al-Gezira building where Halim's fans gather every year.
Although 38 years have passed since Halim's death, his fans still gather in the same place on the anniversary of his death every year 30 March and chant “as if it was yesterday”, in remembrance of the legendary singer.
Halim ordered that his apartment should be open to public after his death.
On the walls in front of his apartment, Halim's lovers made inscriptions expressing their love and appreciation to him. They also wrote on the walls of the lift love and blame words of famous songs to Halim.
“If I ever forget you, what else shall I remember?” “Oh Halim you softer than breeze,” and “To Halim: the absent but present,” read the walls.
Admirers of Halim wrote him love letters like one that wrote: “To Abdel Halim Hafez my sweetheart: I love you, I respect you, I adore you, although I have never seen you but I saw your soul.”
Love notes to Halim on the walls of his house
Magda, one of Halim's admirers, leans her back on the wall of love letters to Halim, as she says she comes every year on the same occasion to commemorate her favorite singer's death.
“My heart is still crying for him,” she says.
Magada heads in the morning to Halim's grave since 20 years where she places roses on the anniversary of his death every year.
“I heard Halim's brother say that whoever wants to visit his home he is welcome anytime. Since that time, I come on each anniversary,” Magda adds.
Lover letters to Halim mon the walls of his house.
Halim fan holding his picture.
Amal, a young woman in her twenties, calls for establishing a museum for Halim collecting his belongings like photos, clothes, letters, perfumes, and so on, she says. “Seeing the apartment is not enough,” she adds.
“Halim is something sacred for me,” says Sawsan, a woman in her forties.
Sawsan says she was young when Halim died in 1977, but she visits his home every year since 1986. “I love him without having even known him. I adore his songs and movies,” Sawsan mentions.
A Moroccan widow who resides in Britain sat in Halim's hallway. She came from London especially to visit Halim's house on the anniversary of his death. The woman wept for the loss of Halim and gave herself a pseudonym “Nay” from one of Halim's songs.
Khadija, a woman in her fifties, remembers the day Halim died with extreme sorrow. “My sister kept wearing black for 40 days after his death and prevented anyone to open a radio or TV as mourning,” she says.
“She kept repeating that she was Halim's widow,” Khadija adds.
“I remember well the funeral of Halim. I was in preparatory school when they said Halim died. I ran out of school and I went to take part in the funeral although I was a child,” says Nagwa.
“I was ready to sacrifice my soul for him,” she adds.
Nagwa says she used to want to die like a woman she saw committing suicide from the balcony as Halim's funeral passed under her house.