Egypt aims to develop Historic Cairo to preserve its architectural heritage and the handicrafts the area is famous for, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly told shop owners and craftsmen during an inspection tour on Saturday.
A statement by the cabinet said the prime minister’s tour was based on presidential mandates to intensify work on projects to revive Historic Cairo to restore its splendour and civilised appearance while preserving its monumental buildings and architectural heritage.
Madbouly's tour aimed to review the details of proposed projects to be implemented for the development of the area, the statement said.
Madbouly was accompanied by Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Anani, Cairo Governor Khaled Abdel-Aal, Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), and Osama Talaat, head of the Islamic, Coptic, and Jewish Antiquities Sector at the SCA.
Madbouly affirmed the commitment of the state to preserving all of Historic Cairo, which Egypt regards as a a cultural treasure with its rich architectural heritage.
Madbouly and Anani
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, centre, in the company of Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Anani, left, during their inspection to at Historic Cairo region on Saturday
Historic Cairo region is home to 537 historic buildings registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List, Madbouly said.
They are archaeological sites considered under international norms to be a treasure of the great cultural heritage that must be preserved, the PM explained.
"Egypt is rich in treasures and historical areas, and we are targeting the return of tourism to these areas whether it is internal or external tourism," Madbouly said.
The premier highlighted President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s declaration last week that while the state builds a new capital it will continue to develop various older cities such as Cairo, Alexandria, and Port Said.
"Egypt is rich in treasures and historical areas, and we are targeting the return of internal and external tourism to these areas," Madbouly said.
Historic Cairo suffers from various problems such as the existence of danderous materials in workshops and warehouses and the presence of underground water beneath historic buildings as well as congested traffic, Madbouly noted.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly speaking to one of the handicraft shop owners during a Saturday's tour at Historic Cairo region
Madbouly conversed with many handicraft shop owners as well as the inhabitants of the area during his tour.
In response to rumours on the government's intention to displace the population of Historic Cairo, Madbouly said the goal of the state is development and not the eviction of the people from the area or demolition of homes.
This comes out of the conviction that the rich heritage of Historic Cairo must be preserved, he stressed.
“The government intends to conduct societal dialogue with experts and the residents of the area to explain the projects that will be implemented,” Madbouly said, stressing that the goal “is development to achieve the general good of the state and citizens regardless of the billions of pounds that the projects may cost.”