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Thursday, 23 September 2021

Photo Essay: A walk through Cairo's tanneries

Renowned photographer Randa Shaath takes a walk in one of Cairo’s oldest district: The Tanneries

Randa Shaath , Thursday 6 May 2021
A walk through Cairo
Photo: Randa Shaath.
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Located in the heart of downtown Cairo, behind Magra Al-Oyoun – the aqueduct built during the reign of Saladin (1138-1193) to carry water from the Nile to the Citadel – were first established during the Khedival period in 1886.The Egyptian government is currently relocating the Tanneries of Cairo to Roubiki Leather City in Badr industrial city as part of the restoration and development process of the Magra Al-Oyoun area.

It was a challenge to find a path in the old city to cross the aqueduct without crossing the highway. I managed to find it by riding my bike through El-Khalij Street (which used to be a canal connecting the Nile to the Red Sea) and going behind the Coptic graveyard through a narrow street.

People there were not happy to lose their old residential area, which is set to be demolished soon. Some beautiful old architecture stands here, but its days are numbered. An older woman who has already relocated told me she still comes here daily from Asmarat to look for work. She said her new home is better equipped, but that there are no jobs available there.

Residents were happy I was taking photos and documenting their area before it is gone. An old man showed me the way to the mosque of Hassan Al-Anwar, a great grandson of the Prophet Muhammad who was supposedly buried here. He advised me to read the Fatiha (the opening words of the Quran) and pray for their future and my own.

A walk through Cairo
Photo: Randa Shaath.

A walk through Cairo
Photo: Randa Shaath.

A walk through Cairo
Photo: Randa Shaath.

A walk through Cairo
Photo: Randa Shaath.

A walk through Cairo
Photo: Randa Shaath.

A walk through Cairo
Photo: Randa Shaath.

A walk through Cairo
Photo credit to Randa Shaath.

A walk through Cairo
Photo: Randa Shaath.

A walk through Cairo
Photo: Randa Shaath.

A walk through Cairo
Photo: Randa Shaath.

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