Thanks to the good offices of the indefatigable Humphrey Davies, who not only translates novels but also keeps an eye on the Official Gazette of Egypt, TBE has learned that the government, in a move that can only be described as laudable, has set aside a large number of Cairo’s buildings and villas for architectural preservation. We weren’t able to find a copy of the Gazette on the government’s website, and the file is rather too large to post here, but will post a link if we find one, or send a copy via email to interested parties.
Some details after the jump.
Entries labeled “Qasr al-Nil,” which includes “downtown” as TBE defines it, begins on page 138. No buildings on the Boursa made the cut, as far as we can tell. The listings for addresses in Zamalek and Garden City, subsumed (as is the Boursa and its surroundings, or what we refer to as the oft-clogged arteries of the beating heart of the Arab world) under the title Heyy al-Gharb, begin on page 122. There are many, many more buildings in other parts of the city that are included in the list, from Sayyida Zeinab to Heliopolis to Rod al-Farag.
With reference to the downtown addresses, we’re particularly interested in knowing what, if any, bearing this will have on the ongoing struggle between the state-owned insurance company that owns many of these building and the Ismailiyya Company for Real Estate Investment, which has been buying up buildings with the aim of fixing them up and inspiring a downtown renaissance. We’ve written about this before, and we hope some of our journalist friends will be inspired to look into the story. We know your editors probably won’t think it’s a very sexy story, so we suggest you pitch it as “poor vs. rich in a battle for the soul of downtown Cairo,” even if that’s not entirely true. Or sneak it into your “Ahmed Ezz wants to sell the pyramids to the highest bidder” story.