..........CAIRO (May 13) : President Hosni Mubarak recently discussed with the Aga Khan, an integrated plan for development of Cairo's largest park, and innovative cultural restoration and economic revitalisation projects being undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in the capital's historic old city.
..........Their meeting followed extensive site visits by the Aga Khan to the Azhar Park and the adjoining Darb al Ahmar district during which he had frank and productive exchanges with the Governor of Cairo, Dr Abdel-Rehim Shehta, the Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni Abdel Aziz and the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr Gaballah Ali Gaballah.
..........The 30 hectare Azhar Park will be Cairo's largest designed green space. Landscaping currently underway on the former rubble dump will create fountained gardens and tree-lined avenues with panoramic vistas onto the skyline of monuments of the old Islamic city. Situated between the eastern edge of the old Fatimid city and the Mameluke necropolis, the park will offer a spectacular panorama of historic landmarks of Cairo. Most recently, the Park project has incorporated the extensive excavation of the Ayyubid wall revealing hitherto undiscovered turrets and chambers.
..........The Aga Khan's historic links with Egypt and Cairo, in particular, go back to the tenth century when the Aga Khan's ancestor, Fatimid Caliph al-Mui'zz laid the foundations of the city in the year 969.
..........The two centuries of Fatimid rule between the ninth and the eleventh centuries saw the flowering of cultural and intellectual life, including the founding of the University of Al Azhar, one of the oldest universities in the world.
.......... Business Recorder