Sunday, January 14, 2018

Re-Opening, Cairo: Egyptian Monuments Reopen

Three Mameluke monuments in Islamic Cairo are to be reopened to the public after restoration. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref. 
Three Mameluke-period monuments, the Al-Muayyedi Bimaristan, the Tekkeyet Al-Bustami and the Darb Al-Laban Gate in Islamic Cairo are to be reopened to the public next week after restoration work.

A Bimaristan is a Mameluke hospital, while a tekkeya is a Sufi charitable building. The buildings have been shrouded in scaffolding for the past three years as restoration work continues, with it being slated to finally come off next week.

The monuments, like others in heavily populated areas, were suffering from environmental dangers, including air pollution, high subsoil water levels, high levels of humidity, water leakage, the effects of a decayed sewerage system installed 100 years ago, and the adverse effects of the 1992 earthquake that increased the number of cracks in their walls, leading in some cases to partial collapse. 

“One of the most serious causes of the damage to the buildings has been encroachment from the monuments’ neighbours who used the tekkeya for example as a residential building and the bimaristan as a garbage dump,” Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, director of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project that supervised the work, told Al-Ahram Weekly.

He said the walls of the three monuments had cracked and partly collapsed, masonry was damaged, and the condition of the ceilings was critical. Decorations were heavily damaged and several parts were missing, while most of the flooring was broken.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany said the restoration had been carried out according to the latest scientific methods. “Every effort was made to ensure that all the original architectural features were retained,” he said, adding that the restoration of the buildings had had important advantages in that individual monuments were being preserved for future generations and the entire neighbourhood was being revived and upgraded.

Abdel-Aziz said that the aim of the restoration was mainly to strengthen and consolidate the monuments and protect them from future damage. The walls were reinforced, cracks were treated, façades were consolidated, missing and decayed stones were replaced, and masonry was cleaned and desalinated. Tilted pillars and walls were readjusted to their original positions, broken woodwork was re-installed and missing parts were replaced with others of the same shape, size and material.

The ceilings were consolidated and insulated with special material to prevent the leakage of rainwater into the monuments. A special system was also designed to accumulate rainwater in one place and feed it into the main sewage system.

The areas surrounding the three monuments were cleaned, restored and upgraded in order to be venues hosting cultural events as well as for holding workshops to raise the cultural awareness of their inhabitants.


The Al-Muayyedi Bimaristan was built by one of the most important Circassian Mameluke sultans to rule Egypt, Al-Muayyad Sheikh Al-Mahmoudi, who reigned between 1418 and 1420 CE. The Bimaristan is the second public hospital still remaining from the period after that of the Mameluke sultan Qalawun built in 1284 in Al-Muizz Street in Islamic Cairo…. READ MORE.

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