Celebrating 117 years of Heliopolis

Amira Noshokaty , Sunday 22 May 2022

Friday, 21 May marked the beginning of Heliopolis Anniversary Week (HAW117), which is celebrating the 117th anniversary of the enchanting district.

Article heliopolis
Article heliopolis turns 117 photo by amira noshokaty


The annual event is coordinated by Heliopolis Heritage Foundation in partnership with several Heliopolis-based entities such as The Palace, Cairo Marathon, Odyssey, Vintage Wheels, and the ‘Cairo Designated UNESCO Creative City’, to name but a few.

The festival kicked off at vintage architectural gem Odyssey — an antiquated villa — and an art exhibition in Korba, Heliopolis. The official opening celebration included live painting, multiple colourful art exhibitions, and a memorabilia exhibition that showcased souvenirs from the residents of Heliopolis, reflecting unique elements of intangible heritage from bygone days of the district. The day also included a roundtable on the impact of art and heritage on each other.

“We have been dreaming of holding a festival for Heliopolis, and this year it came true,” explained Shoukry Asmar — Head of the Board of Trustees of the Heliopolis Heritage Foundation to Ahram Online.

“We decided to call it ‘Heliopolis Week’ and launch it around 23 May, which is the date that Baron Edouard Empain and Nobar Pasha signed the contract to found the district of Heliopolis with Khedive Abbas Helmi the second,” he added, explaining that the festivities include a mélange of cultural, athletic, and artistic activities, and even major restaurants will be hosting live music performances and donating 5 percent of their income throughout the week to the Heliopolis Heritage Foundation.

“We picked the Odyssey villa as our starting point because it was an old villa that was restored and turned into an art gallery, and so it embodies the message we would like to convey, which is that art and culture auto-protect each other, for art protects heritage sites and heritage is always an inspiration to arts. We would like to encourage people to restore old villas and turn them into public venues,” he concluded.

The schedule of the HAW117 is as follows:

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