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Friday, 23 August 2019

Egypt's oldest watch shop demolished in downtown Cairo

Egypt's oldest watch shop is demolished as part of ambitious plan to develop downtown Cairo

Zeinab El-Gundy , Thursday 6 Sep 2018
watch shop
Building no.54 in street 26 July in Downtown Cairo demolished. (Photo:Zeinab El-Gundy)
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Egypt's oldest watch shop "S.Hinhayat" was demolished by district workers in Cairo on Wednesday and Thursday.

Inaugurated in 1907 by a Bulgarian watchmaker called Solomon Hinhayat, the shop had been operational until July 2018 when Boulaq Abu Ela district representative said that it was ordered to be demolished as part of ongoing renovation and development projects in the Maspero triangle in downtown Cairo.

Its shop owner Essam Solomon, as well other shop owners in the building, insist that following the 1992 earthquake, the only official order that was issued concerning the shop was to remove two floors from the building and undertake renovations.  

Ahram Online published a story regarding the pleas of shop owners at building No.54 of 26 July Street urging the government and the district representatives not to demolish their building and to leave it out of the Maspero triangle project.

Currently, the rest of the residents of the same street are fighting a similar destiny insisting that their buildings were classified in the past as exhibiting "unique architectural style.”

However, Cairo deputy governor Ibrahim Abdel Hady earlier this week stated that all the buildings inside Maspero triangle, except official buildings, would be demolished.

The Maspero Triangle development project is an ambitious plan to turn the slum area in the heart of Cairo into a modern financial and residential hub to attract local and foreign investments.

After years of negotiating, the government has managed to relocate Maspero residents in exchange for compensation and alternative residences.

However, some buildings in the area are excluded from the demolition orders, including the headquarters of Egypt’s state TV and radio building, the Hilton Ramses hotel, the former Italian consulate, the headquarters of Egypt’s foreign ministry, the Mosque of Sultan Abul-Ela, and the Royal Carts Museum. 

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