Saturday, February 04, 2012

Ottoman Cairo's ghosts hold delightful secrets

Al Ahram Weekly (Gamal Nkrumah)

Agnieszka Dobrowolska, a conservation architect, travels, often alone or in the company of her co-worker and architectural partner, her husband Jaroslaw Dobrowolski -- author of The Living Stones of Cairo -- to bring back intriguing tales of magnificent buildings that she often restores to a semblance of their original sublimity and resplendence. Together, they authored numerous works including Heliopolis: Rebirth of the City of the Sun.

The couple is off to Dongola, Sudan, later in February. Convivial and not averse to a witticism, with a light touch and a clear ear, she had spent at least 15 years in chronicling, conserving and restoring the architectural treasures of Egypt. As an architect, she never planned for a career in conservation. Ever since her Egyptian sojourn, her work and the rich architectural heritage of Egypt have moved in tandem with her life.

Moreover, she has a fine ear for conversation and a taste for the historical, and in particular constructions constituting or chronicling history.

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