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Cairo’s 74-acre Al-Azhar Park is the former site of one of the city’s largest dumps for rubble and garbage. The Cairo Citadel, with its delicate spires, looms on the horizon.
Weekend Edition Sunday, May 4, 2008 · Amid Cairo’s sprawling cityscape, there’s a lush retreat where Egyptians can find some breathing space.
Like New York’s Central Park, the 74-acre Al-Azhar Park is a green getaway for the city’s 17 million residents. But less than a decade ago, Al-Azhar Park was little more than a mound of dirt and trash — a 500-year-old garbage dump.
“It was … the shame of the city,” says Thomas Taha Rassam Culhane, founder of Solar Cities, a group that is installing environment-friendly solar hot-water heaters in Cairo’s slums.
At a cost of $30 million, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture hired world-class Egyptian, European and American architects who worked with the city and local residents to create Cairo’s first new green space in more than a century.