The randomness of Egyptian streets is not up for debate, but amid this array of seemingly unrelated functions, we see a number of streets that somehow manage to focus on one single specialisation. Streets like Khan El-Khalili are filled with jewelry shops and Egyptian antique shops, while Abdel Aziz Street bustles with an enormous number of electronics shops.
While this has made the lives of shoppers somewhat easier, it has simultaneously created a massive flow of people towards those areas, making traffic there unbearable. In an effort to reduce traffic, the Cairo Governorate Authority has decided to establish a novel comprehensive commercial city that will house all these commercial activities.
The city will be located on a huge lot near the Regional Ring Road, at the intersection between Al Kattameya Road and Ain Sokhna Road. The plan is to organise the city and have it include designated places for each craft or shop type, and the government is set to accommodate for the transportation requirements between that city and all places in Cairo.
When it comes to residents of areas that live far from those crowded street markets, they may be against such a move. After all, these streets have gained great fame, and become somewhat of a site for tourists, especially a street such as Khan El Khalily. Not to mention that residents of such areas, who are also owners of shops there, will voice their concern over having to commute towards a distant city. On the other hand, residents who have no shops will be relieved to see their streets become a bit less crowded and a tad less noisy. This is actually one of the main reasons behind this decision.
We hope that this transition is executed with attention to detail, and a true empathy towards all the stakeholders. If the transportation system is accessible and effective, this could actually work wonders for Cairo. We would ultimately lose out on those streets, but we could greet a new addition to Egyptian tourism. This city does not have to be a repetition of what the streets were, it could be so much more than that, it could be one of the best hubs and markets in the world. Unfortunately, it may end up coming at the cost of sacrificing Khan El-Khalili, which is already one of the most famous street markets in the world.