Sunday,22 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1396, (31 May - 6 June 2018)
Sunday,22 July, 2018
Issue 1396, (31 May - 6 June 2018)

Ahram Weekly

New venue in Al-Khalifa

The courtyard in front of the Ahmed Kohei Mosque in the Al-Khalifa district of Cairo is to be converted into a stage for cultural events, reports Nevine El-Aref

clockwise from left: The courtyard after rehabilitation; the design to be developed
clockwise from left: The courtyard after rehabilitation; the design to be developed

In collaboration with Al-Athar Lina, an NGO, the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project (HCRP) is to develop the open courtyard in front of the Ahmed Kohei Mosque in Islamic Cairo into a stage for cultural activities, lectures and events.

Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, head of the HCRP, said the project was a step towards the preservation of the site as despite previous efforts to restore the courtyard its closure had led to its becoming a rubbish dump for the area’s inhabitants, leading to problems not only for the wider area but also for the health of its inhabitants and the mosque itself.

As part of the restoration work, all the rubbish would be removed, the wooden pergolas repaired, and the floor level would be raised to prevent the leakage of subterranean water into the mosque, he said. A new lighting system would be installed to use the courtyard at night. 

“The courtyard will be a cultural hub for the area’s inhabitants where lectures can be delivered as well as musical performances,” Abdel-Aziz said, adding that literacy and other classes would also be organised. 

Al-Athar Lina (the monuments are ours) is a participatory conservation initiative that aims to encourage grassroots participation in heritage conservation based on an understanding of monuments as a resource and not a burden. Only when cultural heritage is beneficial to the community will the community become an active partner in its conservation and conservation become a true vehicle for development. 

The NGO is run by the built environment collective Megawra, a twin organisation including an architecture firm. It started in June 2012 with a participatory design workshop focusing on the neighbourhood of Al-Khalifa in Islamic Cairo. 

This neighbourhood stretches from the Ibn Toloun Mosque in the north to the Al-Sayeda Nafisa Shrine in the south and is known for its impressive listed monuments dating from the ninth to the 19th centuries. 

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