Al-Azhar Park is a major park in
Cairo's Darb al-Ahmar neighborhood in Egypt. It was inaugurated in May 2005.
Among several honors, this park is listed as one of the world's sixty great public spaces by
Project for Public Spaces( [http://www.pps.org/ PPS] ).cite web |url=http://www.pps.org/info/gps/60places?referrer=gps_home |title=60 of the Wolrld's Great Places - Project for Public Spaces |accessdate=2006-12-11] The Park was created by the Historic Cities Support Programme ( [http://www.akdn.org/agency/aktc_hcsp.html HCSP] ) of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture( [http://www.akdn.org/agency/aktc.html AKTC] ), an entity of the Aga Khan Development Network( [http://www.akdn.org/ AKDN] ). The park, developed at a cost in excess of USD$30 million, was a gift to Cairo from His Highness the Aga Khan. It is interesting to note that the city of Cairo was founded in the year 969by the FatimidImam-Caliphs who were ancestors of the Aga Khan.
The park project was not only the development of the park, but also included aspects of archeology (12th century
Ayyubidwall), historic building rehabilitation (14th Century Umm Sultan Shaban Mosque, the 13th century Khayrbek complex, and the Darb Shoughlan School) and several quality of life improvement initiatives. Those initiatives included skills training, area rehabilitation, microfinance, and support in the areas of health and education among others.
Urban Plaza and Museum of Historic Cairo
At the Northern end of the park, an "Urban Plaza" project is under development which will house the
Museum of Historic Cairo. The Urban Plaza will be a mixed-use centre with underground car parking, shops and cultural facilities. It is being built by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in cooperation with the Supreme Council of Antiquitiesof Egypt.cite press release |url=http://www.akdn.org/news/2007october26.htm |title=Two Major Landmarks Restored in Historic Cairo |publisher=Aga Khan Development Network |date=2007-10-26 |accessdate=2007-10-26]
The Museum will describe the evolution of Egypt's capital city
Cairo[cite web |url=http://www.anba.com.br/ingles/noticia.php?id=12884 |title=Museum to tell the history of Cairo - Brazil Arab News Agency, November 15, 2006] , and house some of the great wealth of art and artefacts of the city's Islamic heritage that are not currently on display. With 4,000 square metres of exhibition space spread over two floors, the museum is expected to have 1,000 pieces on display from different historical periods. It will provide visitors insight into the urban, cultural and architectural history of the heart of Cairo.
To conserve and restore all the artefacts and artworks which will be shown in the museum, the Trust has set up a major conservation laboratory, which is training young technicians in this field. It is also being used to restore important art and architectural elements for the Cairo Museum of Islamic Art.
Awards and recognition
* Al-Azhar Park is listed among the 60 of the World's Great Places by
Project for Public Spaces
* 2005 [http://www.travelandleisure.com Travel +Leisure magazine] [http://www.travelandleisure.com/globalvision/ Global Vision Innovation Award] [cite web |url=http://www.travelandleisure.com/globalvision/innovation.cfm |title=Innovation - T+L 2005 Global Vision Awards |accessdate=2006-12-11]
Historic Cities Support Programme
Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Aga Khan Development Network
* [http://www.akdn.org/agency/aktc_hcsp.html Historic Cities Support Programme]
* [http://www.akdn.org/agency/aktc_hcsp_cairo.html Project Page - AKTC Historic Cities Support Programme — Cairo / Al-Azhar Park]
* [http://www.akdn.org/agency/aktc.html The Aga Khan Trust for Culture]
* [http://www.akdn.org/ The Aga Khan Development Network]
* [http://www.alazharpark.com/ The Al-Azhar Park]
* [http://www.pps.org/great_public_spaces/one?public_place_id=812&type_id=1 Listing in 60 of the World's Great Places]
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