CAIRO: Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty launched Tuesday the third and last phase of the Al-Muizz Street Rehabilitation Project, according to the Antiquities Ministry Facebook page.
“The third phase of the project focuses on solving the street’s accumulated problems including its poor infrastructure, illegal occupation by vendors along with traffic and transportation issues,” Damaty said.
The shops at Al-Muizz Street will be painted uniformly to match the surrounding Islamic monuments and to revive the original allure of the street, said Damaty, who added the cost of the project’s third phase is estimated at 1.1 m EGP ($150,000).
“The third phase also includes repairs to street lights previously installed by Egypt Sound and Light Company,” he added.
The 2-kilometer long Al-Muizz li-Deen Illah Street, better known as Al-Muizz Street, stretches from Bab el-Nasr in the north to Bab el-Fotouh in the South and is the seat of Egypt’s most glorious and significant mosques, religious complexes, palaces and houses of high Islamic officials, Fathy Khourshid, the head of Islamic and Coptic History at Minya University’s Faculty of Tourism and Hotels told The Cairo Post Wednesday.
“It was founded by Al-Muizz li-Deen Illah, the first Fatimid caliph who founded Cairo in 969, and it remained the city’s main street for centuries,” Khoursid said.
The restoration is concentrated on the first half of the street, which stretches from Bab el-Nasr to Gawhar al-Qaed Street near Khan el-Khalili, Khourshid added.
The first phase of the project, which was completed in February, included the repair of shop facades, the restoration of 1930s-era basalt ground tiles and the installation of garbage cans and kiosks for tourism and antiquities policemen, project head Mohamed Aziz told The Cairo Post Wednesday.
“The second phase, which began in late February, included the introduction of hydraulic barriers to prevent cars and vehicles from entering the street from 8 a.m. till 10 p.m. so that pedestrians can wander freely and enjoy the glory of the street,” Aziz said.
According to Aziz, the restoration of Al-Muizz Street is a part of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project (HCRP), a larger technical assistance program launched by UNESCO in 2000 to safeguard world heritage sites.
Vehicles were not allowed to drive through the street and it was turned into an open museum in 2010, but due to Egypt’s political turmoil following the January 25 Revolution, it fell into disrepair before the Antiquities Ministry launched a revival project for the street in October 2013.
Al-Nasir Muhammad Madrasa, the Qalawun Complex and Al-Azhar Mosque are among the most significant Islamic-era structures on Al-Muizz Street.