Renovations in the Ibn Toulon Area
By Amargi Hiller
(Cairo) The Ministry of Culture has initiated renovations in the Ibn Toulon area due to its historical importance. The Ministry aims to make the area into a complete tourist location as it holds many antiquities from the Islamic Empire. The Ibn Toulon Mosque is the first in the project to be renovated.
Ibn Toulon lies in the heart of historical Cairo. It is close to the antiquities of the Citadel and the Mosques of Sultan Hassan and El- Refaay. The area is also connected with Tahrir Square (via the subway) and Saida Zainab, which are lively places. Ibn Toulon is also a continuation of the Islamic Antiquities in this area so it is a priority that renovations must take places.
Engineer Kamal Mokhtar, the Supervisor of Renovations, stated that it is also important to renovate and refine the surrounding residential area to harmonize with the mosque of Ibn Toulon.
The project strategy is as follows:
1- An architectural overhaul of the residential area.
2- Renovations of wooden embellishments on the houses and their facades.
3- Installing a sufficient lighting system.
4- Paving paths for pedestrians and setting up seats for them.
5- A complete classification and renovation of the undocumented houses as Antiquities.
6- Open area to be converted to public gardens.
Engineer Ehab confirms that the aim of renovations and refining of the surrounding area of the mosque is to add beauty to historic Cairo. Also, a goal is to make the area into a frequently visited tourist site so as not to depend only on the Ibn Toulon Mosque as the only tourist attraction.
There may be attempts to build a few bazaars in the area. Workshops that cause noise and visual pollution will be removed. Owners of these workshops will be substituted with new workshops away from this historical site.
There seems to be some obstacles in the process of renovations such as the shops located adjacent to the minaret. They are too close and there is a lot of scrap on top of their roofs. Efforts to get shop owners to clean up their property is often difficult. The entrance of the mosque is disfigured and thus requires a huge effort to be restored. The poor condition of the streets around the area also make it difficult for the quantity of construction equipment and vehicles needed.