Alexandria’s El-Salam theatre faces demolition to public dismay

Mohamed Abdel Ghani, Tuesday 14 Jun 2016

Officials began demolishing the historic El-Salam theatre, located on Alexandria’s Corniche, on Monday

El-salam theatre
El-Salam theatre, 12 June 2016 (Photo: Ahram Arabic Gate)

The demolition of Alexandria's historic El-Salam theatre began on Monday as officials plan to replace the building with a hotel, Ahram Arabic news website reported.

The theatre, a unique egg-shaped building constructed during the 1950s, was an important cultural venue that hosted a number of Egyptian theatre classics such as El-Wad Sayed El-Shaghal (Sayed The Servant), Raya We Sakina, Sharea Mohamed Aly (Mohamed Aly Street), and El-Askary El-Akhdar (The Green Soldier).

The theatre was closed years ago and has not been operating since.

Alexandrians reacted to the news of the demolition on social media, expressing their disapproval and anger over the demolition of the historic building, writing that it constituted a loss for the Alexandrian cultural scene.

Hisham Shalaby, an Alexandrian, told Ahram Arabic news website that El-Salam theatre is considered a cultural icon in Alexandria and throughout Egypt, which renders its loss priceless.

Another local, Mohamed Mostafa, described the decision to bring down the theatre as letting go of an integral part of the city's history, questioning the point behind building yet another hotel, especially when the surrounding area also includes an array of hotels. 

Mazen El-Sayed added that, “El-Salam theatre is part of [the city's] cultural heritage, and we should preserve it along with everything that represents the city’s heritage."

Mohamed Awad, head of the Heritage Preservation Committee in Alexandria Governorate, told Ahram Arabic that “the theatre was not registered as a heritage building, despite possessing a great cultural value as a witness to much of the city’s cultural heritage.”

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