Big News
Wednesday 2nd June, 2004

Aga Khan Trust transforms vast Cairo dump

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture has transformed an enormous rubbish heap in the medieval center of Cairo into an oasis, called Al-Azhar Park.

The trust set by Aga Khan IV, leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim sect, is world renowned for its architectural projects. The Al-Azhar Park reclamation includes restoration of part of the ancient city walls and the impoverished Darab al-Ahmar area of the city. The park site had been the main rubbish heap of Cairo since late Mamluk times, some 500 years ago.

The park, has rolling green hills studded with palm trees and bushy vegetation and its main axis is aligned with Cairo's historic Citadel, whose construction was begun by Saladin, founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty in the 12th century. It also offers a sweeping view of Cairo and the vast Bab al-Wazir cemetery.

The park includes two restaurants, one designed in the traditional Fatimid mosque style and the other in Arab modern design on the edge of a lake that is used as a reservoir for park irrigation.