CAIRO: Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty has launched a public campaign to clean the streets of Historic Cairo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its significant mosques and other Islamic complexes, according to the ministry’s Facebook page Thursday.
“The street cleaning and beautifying campaign covers Historic Cairo’s districts of Al-Azhar, Al-Ghouri, Al-Darb al-Ahmar and Al-Gamaleya, which is the birthplace of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi,” Damaty said.
Volunteers from civil society organizations and youth groups, including the Resala Charity non-profit organization and El-Sondos Orphan Establishment, took to the streets to clean and beautify the main streets and the alleys of the area, and sweep around the mosques to make it shiny, Damaty added.
“The campaign aims to raise awareness of Historic Cairo residents with the significance of the area and to engage them in beautifying this touristic attraction,” Damaty said.
Cairo was founded in 969 by Jawhar Al-Siqilli (the Sicilian), a general of Al-Muizz, the first Fatimid caliph. It became the new center of the Islamic world, reaching its golden age in the early 14th century, Fathy Khourshid, the head of Islamic and Coptic History at Minya University’s Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, told The Cairo Post Wednesday.
“Historic Cairo, which covers an area of 32 square kilometers, stretches from Bab el-Nasr in the north to Sayida Aisha Mosque in the south and from Al-Azhar Park in the east to Yusuf Agha Mosque in the west,” Khourshid said.
Historic Cairo is the seat of no less than 600 classified monuments dating from the seventh to 20th centuries, spread out over several parts of the well-preserved urban fabric of medieval-era settlements, he added.
“Following the January 25 Revolution, much of the Historic Cairo area, one of the poorest and most overcrowded areas of the capital city, has suffered from neglect, poor infrastructure, illegal occupation by vendors and traffic and transportation issues,” Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project (HCRP) head Mohamed Abdel-Aziz told The Cairo Post Friday.