Aside from the historical artefacts on display at the Egyptian Museum, Downtown Cairo boasts numerous ancient buildings and relics. Unfortunately, time took its toll on them and we’ve seen them deteriorate without any maintenance. But, there seems to be a shining light at the end of the tunnel.
We’ve written more than once about the grand renovations happening around Downtown Cairo, or Khedive Cairo as some call it. Such areas were built over various historical epochs, and accordingly houses an array of ancient mosques and buildings. The sheer cultural and historical span of such areas make it a beautiful place for an evening walk and/or an educational tour.
Downtown Cairo was initially established 150 years ago by Khedive Ismail, and the plan is to register a number of its buildings as historical ones, and then renovate and develop a number of squares, streets, and bridges. Namely, Al-Sharifain Street, Talaat Harb Square, Tahrir Square, and Abdeen Square, as well as Qasr El-Nil Bridge and Al-Galaa Bridge.
The renovation plan encompasses over 500 buildings, with around 200 of them having already been renovated. However, a negative point here for some Downtown lovers will be the fate of the local coffee shops. Such coffee shops, that have become favourites among Cairenes, may not remain after the renovations; the plan is to remove the unlicensed ones, i.e. most of them.
Given all these changes, several officials have labelled this as “more than just a renovation plan, it’s an action plan to turn the whole area into a cultural centre.” They plan to turn them into bazaars and galleries, as well as other service shops, such as restaurants. Perhaps it might be the end of Cairene-favourite coffee shops, or perhaps it’s the beginning of a different story. All in all, it is expected that the plan will reach completion within two years, and will have a budget between 500 and 600 million Egyptian pounds.
P.S. To give you an idea of the sheer magnitude of the renovations, the building in the featured image used to look as seen in the image below.
Photos via Downtown Cairo