by Chris Bodenner

vfyw_8-17

A reader writes:

The architecture and the many satellite dishes and TV antennas are reminiscent of the couple of countries in the Arab world I have visited . The “star and crescent” in one of the windows also suggests that we are in an Arab country. The writing on the water tank could be in Arabic. I assume the location is Egyptian because of the the structure of the number plate of the vehicle; it has a horizontal band running along the top, and a Google image search of “number plate” and various Arab countries suggests that this could be an Egyptian number plate.

While this is not an upscale neighborhood, the buildings look fairly modern and there is a number of ornamental trees. For local standards this is a higher-end neighborhood. According to some Egyptian real estate websites, Zamalek, an affluent district of central Cairo, encompassing the northern portion of Gezira Island, could fit the bill. I have never been in Egypt (other than the Cairo airport), so I am probably off by hundreds or even thousands of miles.

Just hundreds. Another reader:

The red star and crescent in the window of the building and the general Middle Eastern looking buildings led me to Turkey, but the buildings didn’t look quite right. After looking at photos from Cypress, I am going to guess the location is Nicosia, Cypress.

Another:

The style of the buildings and their stone exteriors (this type of rock is locally called Jerusalem stone) are a clear giveaway that this picture was taken in West Jerusalem. You can also see water tanks on the roofs with attached solar panels, which are ubiquitous throughout Israel.

Another goes east:

It’s quite obviously Jerusalem, and the Arabic writing on the roof-top water tank puts it in East Jerusalem. Beyond that I’m not sure, so gonna guess somewhere in Sheikh Jarrah, north of Damascus Gate.

Another:

This looks like somewhere in Israel/Palestine. Israel is one of the countries where solar water heaters are commonly used, and the only one of those places (according to Google) where you might expect to find Arabic script. The landscape and architecture confirm this. The stone looks like “Jerusalem stone,” which suggests a locale somewhere in that area. The car has what look like white plates, which indicates an area controlled by the Palestinian Authority, not Israel.

Since the West Bank is basically a blank spot according to Google Maps (few if any street names), it’s hard to get very precise. So I’m going to hazard a guess and say this is Ramallah. The apartments look like recent construction, so I’m going to say specifically the Beytunia neighborhood, which is where a lot of new housing has been built as a result of Ramallah’s building boom. That would make the communication tower on the hill in the distance a part of the Israeli settlement of Psagot, which is built on a mountain overlooking central Ramallah. Fingers crossed!

Another gets a strong feeling:

This street is one of the favorite views of my life. This might sound a bit crazy, but I know this view because I lived in the house where this photo was taken for two years about twelve years ago.

It’s Kuwait City, Kuwait. The neighborhood is a bit more built up than I remember, but I’m sure this is it. This was my window. This was my view. This was our home when my children were babies and toddlers. This is the balcony where I sat with them in the evening. Seeing the image now of the low sun reflecting off the buildings, I can feel the heat and the heavy evening breeze. I can smell the hot dusty sand in the air, and I can see my young daughters’ super wide smiles. And I’m dying right now, because the heavy heat and my daughters’ smiles made those evenings so peaceful. I really miss it too much.

Another is also confident:

I am sure it is Lebanon because of the red roof in the distance behind the building in the front. Those are typical historical Lebanese homes, so it has to be Lebanon. We have got a repeat of the Islamic “muqarna” motif in this photo as well – similar to the recent view from the Al Hambra. The entrance portico of the building in the photo has a modernist architectural approach to a “mihrab” – a feature typical of most mosques oriented in the direction of Mecca. The question is what city. I doubt it’s the capital, Beirut, because there are too many trees. I would have to guess Jbeil, or perhaps Aukar near the American Embassy.

Another Lebanon guesser:

Gonna say Beirut and the neighborhood of Geitawi. Arabic script on that small sign atop the near building and what looks like cypress (?) trees to the left. I’m guessing Geitawai because when I googled “cypress trees in beirut,” I found this story.

Another:

I was so close but just a bit too far north last week for the Olympia, WA view. Now I feel close but so far! I have been to Tunisia but didn’t get to spend much time in Tunis. The neighborhood looks newer and pretty nice. And are those solar panels? So maybe a more progressive/modern area? My husband thinks Istanbul but that thing on the roof with the tank appears to have Arabic script on it so I decided to rule that out. The Islamic crescent and star on the window is so helpful but so not helpful at the same time! So I’m just going to take a guess of Tunis, Tunisia.

Another nails the right city:

This is my first time guessing for the VFYW contest, and usually my personal guesses are wrong, but I think I know this one. It’s definitely a Muslim country, with the red crescent and star in the window in the building across the street. And the white buildings everywhere remind me of Amman, as that certain shade is mandated by law within the city. There are a few too many trees for me to make this guess entirely comfortably, but they only seem to be in the foreground, and the hill rising in the back doesn’t appear to have any (another indication its Amman, because its a very hilly city). So that’s my guess.

Correct guess. Another Amman entry:

I lived there for three years. Haven’t quite figured out how to search images/maps and pinpoint the exact location but this is the first VFYW contest where I’ve immediately guessed it. I hope someone gets the precise location – can’t wait to find out what it is. It’s been driving me crazy.

Another:

This has to be Amman. Probably the Abdoun neighborhood, in the leafy (by Jordanian standards) western reaches of the city. This has been killing me all week, because I suspect the photo was taken within a mile or so of my apartment. I kept adjusting my route to work, hoping I’d pass by the view in question. But, alas, no luck. I’m sure someone cleverer than me has nailed down the exact location …

Here’s Grand Champion Doug Chini’s entry:

With most contests the hard part is finding the right city, while finding the exact address is easier, but this week is a prime example of the opposite situation. We’re almost certainly in the city of Amman, Jordan, but that choice of city means trouble. Amman’s architecture is strikingly uniform, in part due to government edict, and in part because so much of it has been built in just the past few decades. This is especially the case in the newer suburbs to the west of the city’s historical center. A best estimate then for the exact location would be in the Rabiya neighborhood which is bounded by Khalda to the north and Abdoun to the southeast and sits near the sixth of the city’s famous traffic circles.

About a dozen readers correctly guessed Amman, but no one got the exact location, as described by the submitter:

It’s from Amman, Jordan, which isn’t all that thrilling but I don’t think you’ve used one from there in a while. I was recently visiting a friend who is now living in Jordan, starting his own business. This is the view from his balcony in Amman, near 8th Circle (house number 3, Al-Hajil Street). Here‘s the exact location. Despite the fact that it’s the capital of Jordan, Amman only got street names three years ago, so finding things gets a little complicated! I visited my friend during Ramadan, which makes life interesting for California atheist expats such as himself. His requests to me: “real” bacon, glazed donuts, flip flops, aviator sunglasses, rum, tequila, and avocados. (I only brought the shoes and shades.)

None of the Amman guessers correctly answered a difficult view in the past, so the tiebreaker this week goes to the reader who has participated in the most contests overall. Since all of the Amman guessers but one have participated in just one or two contests, the following reader, who has entered eight, is the winner this week:

THAT is Amman, Jordan. But man, it could be one of many neighborhoods in West Amman. I don’t see a single unique feature in the whole picture. I’ll guess that this is in Shmeisani, just ’cause.

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