In 1971, the Cairo Opera House caught fire resulting in its total destruction, followed by many important heritage buildings in Ataba square falling into disrepair, while others were demolished, and the Opera site itself became occupied by a multi-storey garage.
Moreover, an ugly elevated road was constructed cutting through al-Ataba Square’s skyline and encroaching on al-Azhar Street in the heart of the Historic Fatimid city and greatly degrading the area.
Azbakiyya Garden -one of the largest gardens in Egypt by the end of the 20th century and lying near by- was first bisected by a road, then parts of it were demolished, trees cut off, and slowly new buildings with new functions came to occupy parts of it such as the National Theater and Marionette Theater to name but a few.
The result today, is an inhomogeneous remnant of what was once the pride and joy of a glorious “Paris of the East.”
(NOUH) a subordinate organization of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, is taking the lead and responsibility for the management of Cairo’s urban and architectural legacy conservation efforts.
Following up on these efforts, NOUH is currently tendering its international competition for the Urban Design and the Historic Conservation of Opera and Ataba Squares, Downtown Cairo.
Register by: 07-10-2010 / Submit by: 10-31-2010