Friday, July 21, 2006

UNESCO involvement with Saladin Citadel project

"Can UNESCO regulations bring the fierce debate over the Saladin Citadel project to a satisfactory close? Nevine El-Aref investigates an issue to be reckoned with.
The past three months have not been easy for ALKAN Holding Company (AHC) chairman Mohamed Nosseir, locked as he has been in a bitter feud not only with the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) but, equally, with archaeologists and intellectuals resentful of a LE2.5 billion project to build the Cairo Financial and Tourist Centre (CFTC), a 260,000-square metre business and tourism megacomplex overlooking the Citadel. An ambitious project for which land has been set aside at the foot of the Muqattam Hills, the complex -- initially scheduled for completion in 2002 -- includes eight office towers, entertainment and shopping facilities, a 600-room five-star hotel and -- the highlight, a CFTC donation -- a glass-domed trading floor modeled on those of London, Tokyo and New York for the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange (CASE), which agreed to be headquartered there when the project was launched in 1999 but has, since the delay, reportedly backed out; rumour has it that CASE will move, rather, to the Smart Village on the Cairo-Alexandria highway.
Launched early February, the project was halted by Cairo Governor Abdel-Azim Waziri in response to a SCA intervention stating that the project, undertaken without the permission of the SCA Permanent Committee for Islamic and Coptic Antiquities (which refused to grant it in 2001 and again in 2005) constituted an encroachment on an archeological site, violating Antiquities Law 117 of 1983."
See the full story on the above page on the Al Ahram Weekly website.

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