After releasing the first publication, Zamalek Island’s Value and Heritage, in which they thoroughly traced the social and architectural history of the ancient Island, their second book delves deep into the intangible heritage of Garden City.
“In this book, we focus more on the intangible heritage of Garden city. We added more information that reflects the history of the ancient district and the many architectural changes and phases that the district underwent throughout the decades. We highlight the social changes that the urban fabric reflects,” Mohamed Abu Seida, chairman of NOUH, told Ahram Online.
Abu Seida explained that book reflects NOUH’s efforts to preserve the mixed use of the Urban Fabric of the district through projects implemented by organisation under the title Memory of the City.
“Memory of the City documents the tangible and intangible heritage of ancient neighbourhoods in Cairo like Garden City, Zamalek, Maadi, and numerous governorates, such as Alexandria and Port Fouad. Our role is to preserve the urban fabric of such unique areas,” he added.
The book delves into the heart of the ancient district, which dates back to the Mamluk era, and used to be the best part of Bustan Al-Khashaab, which was established during the reign of Sultan Al-Nasser Mohamed Ibn Qalawoon (1285-1341 AD).
The current location of Garden City district, in what was known as Al-Midan Al-Nassery, was considered the best area of Cairo because of its Nile view and vast tree parks and green promenades.
It was the Sultan’s Saturday destination, and during the hot season, after the festival of Wafaa El-Nil, the Sultan used to extend his stay for two months until the Nile water recedes.
The book walks us through the change of the architectural and urban fabric of Garden City with a detailed description of the First Palace, the neighbourhood’s tallest residential building, and all the intangible heritage elements that still linger silently from the doorways and balconies of this ancient part of Cairo.
The book also covers the names of the streets of Garden City, who owns them and what they stand for. It highlights the socioeconomic history of the neighbourhood, the people who inhabited it and the gradual transformation of the function of the buildings that are left in contrast to the new ones. Filled with maps, rich information on the inhabitants, architects and many rich details, this book is a treasure in its own right.