By Anna Somers Cocks for The Art Newspaper
This article was originally published in May 2005, The Art Newspaper, Issue 158.
Last month, a 30-hectare park in the centre of Cairo was inaugurated by the Aga Khan and Suzanne Mubarak, wife of the Egyptian president. It stands high over the city so on a clear day you can see the pyramids, and breezes ruffle its palm trees. You look down on the 12th-century city wall that runs for a kilometre and a half from Saladin’s great citadel. Crushed up against it is Darb Al-Ahmar, the oldest part of Cairo, a dense network of ramshackle streets that includes 50 monuments, from exquisitely detailed 14th-century mosques to the last of the whirling dervishes’ theatres in Egypt. The poorest of the poor live here; the houses—and most of the monuments—are so badly maintained that some of them are downright dangerous.