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Catastrophe in Cairo's historic Al-Muizz Street contained

After a substantial leak of drainage water, Al-Muizz Street in historic Cairo is safe

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 11 Feb 2012
a column at qalawun complex
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Following six hours of being submerged in drainage water, Al-Muizz Street is back to normal and the distinguished Islamic monuments that line its edges are safe.

Yesterday, after the noon prayer, drainage water leaked into the street and almost inundated a large section where the 11th century Qalawun complex is located. The Qalawun complex consists of a mosque, a quranic school, a sabil (water fountain) and a mausoleum.

Mohsen Sayed, head of the Islamic Antiquities Department, told Ahram Online that the street was inundated in water as the main sewage tunnel of the street was blocked.

“This is not the antiquities' fault,” Sayed said, adding that according to the street’s development project, the Antiquities Department is paying an annual fee to operate a pumping machine that has been installed to prevent the leakage of water into the street and to pump it out if neccessary.

Regretfully, Sayed continued, sometimes the person who is in charge of the machine has left it without supervision. “This is the third time in a year that drainage water leaked into the street due to the irresponsibility of the person in charge of the machine,” Sayed told Ahram Online. He added that restorers are now busy cleaning the Qalawun complex and inspecting it for negative effect the leak might have made.

“I am now writing a severe letter to send to different authorities at the Ministry of Irrigation to take all legal measures to punish who is responsible for this catastrophe,” Sayed asserted.

The Qalawun complex was built over the ruins of the Fatimd Palace of Cairo. It was bought by the Sultan Qalawun in 1283AD. The structure resides in the heart of Cairo, in Bayn Al-Qasrayn, and has been a centre for important religious ceremonies and rituals of the Islamic faith stretching from the Mamluk dynasty through the Ottoman Empire.

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