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Tuesday, 2007, July 17

al-azhar Park

2007-07-17 Prince Karim Aga Khan at Al-Azhar Park, Cairo

Cairo Governorate and Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Public-Private Partnership for Historic Cairo Revitalisation Projects

Cairo, 17 July 2007 – Cairo’s Governor, H.E. Dr. Abdel Azim Wazir, and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s General Manager, Mr. Luis Monreal, today signed an historic Public-Private Partnership (PPP) linking Al-Azhar Park, a future “Urban Plaza” project at the northern end of the Park, and ongoing work by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Darb al-Ahmar.

The “Urban Plaza” project will be a mixed-use centre with underground car parking, shops and cultural facilities, including the Museum of Historic Cairo, which is being built by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in cooperation with the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt.

The Museum will house some of the great wealth of art and artefacts of Cairo’s Islamic heritage that are not currently on display. To be built adjacent to the “Urban Plaza” at the north end of Al-Azhar Park and close to the end of the twelfth century Ayyubid Wall, the Museum will give visitors insight into the urban, cultural and architectural history of the heart of Cairo.

To conserve and restore all the artefacts and artworks which will be shown in the museum, the Trust has set up a major conservation laboratory, which is training young technicians in this field. It is also being used to restore important art and architectural elements for the Cairo Museum of Islamic Art, due to open in 2007.

The Public-Private Partnership builds on the US$ 30 million Azhar Park project, which transformed a 500-year-old accumulation of fill and debris on the Darassa site into much-needed leisure and recreational space.

The Park attracted over a million visitors in 2006. The construction of the Park and the restoration of cultural monuments in the neighbouring Darb al-Ahmar, including Umm al Sultan Shabaan mosque and the Kheyrbek complex, have become catalysts for social and economic development in the district. The project also includes rehabilitation of housing, microfinance, health care and training in a number of fields, including restoration, carpentry and computer skills.

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