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Thursday, June 22, 2017
News: Al-Khalifa Heritage Project Resumes
third phase of the Al-Khalifa Area Rehabilitation Project has resumed after
securing the required funds, writes Nevine El-Aref.
The Three Newly Restored Domes
Al-Khalifa area of Cairo, known for its Islamic monuments, is again in the
limelight as the third phase of its rehabilitation project is now set to begin
after being put on hold owing to the lack of a budget. The project is being
carried out by the Ministry of Antiquities in collaboration with the Cairo
governorate, the built-environment collective Megawra, the Al-Athar Lina (the
Monuments are Ours) initiative, and Mashroo Kheir.
Abdel-Aziz, director of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project, told
Al-Ahram Weekly that the third phase included the implementation of a pilot
project to integrate solutions for ground-water problems in historic contexts.
multi-disciplinary research and training programme with the participation of an
international team of architects, conservators, urban planners, and experts in
urbanism, environment, infrastructure and water resources had begun this in
2016, he said. The programme was organised by Megawra and the universities of
Oregon and Cornell in the US, with funding from the American Research Centre in
Egypt (ARCE) and the American Embassy in Cairo in partnership with the Ministry
of Antiquities and the Cairo governorate.
team has studied the phenomenon of rising ground water in historic areas and
its impact on historic buildings. It has also trained professionals and
scholars in the field of heritage conservation on state-of-the-art techniques
of the treatment of historic buildings that suffer from high amounts of salt
and water damage.
programme will follow this up by using technologies that can be implemented and
that are suitable for the social particularity and economic conditions of the
area, with the aim of transforming ground water from a source of harm to a
social resource. The third phase, Abdel-Aziz said, includes the restoration of
both the Al-Ashraf Khalil and Fatma Khatoun domes in Islamic Cairo.
Th Al-Sayeda Rokaya Mausoleum
Fatma Khatoun Dome was originally a mausoleum and was once part of the
Al-Madrasa Al-Khatouniya and the Madrasa Umm Al-Saleh. During the Ottoman
period, it was used as a Sufi hostel. The madrasa (school) no longer exists. The
dome is located on Al-Ashraf Street near the Al-Sayeda Nafisa Mausoleum. It was
built by the Mameluke Sultan Al-Ashraf Salaheddin Khalil Ibn Qalawoun for his
wife Khawand Khatoun. The mausoleum is composed of an inner square, a minaret
and two rows of stalactites within an outer arch.
Mausoleum of Al-Ashraf Khalil was founded in 687 AH (1288 CE) by Sultan
Qalawoun. The lower part is built using stone-crowned stalactites, while the
dome is made of brick.
restoration project aims to preserve both domes from water damage by installing
a new drainage system. It will also decrease the level of humidity, consolidate
the walls, and repair cracks. The open area in front of the dome is to be
converted into a public park, including an open-air theatre, cafeteria, library
and a playing area for children. An administrative building is to be provided.
said that the project was part of a long-term plan to develop the Al-Khalifa
area, both archaeologically and in terms of urban planning, as a step towards