Events in the Maq'ad of Sultan Qaitbey  cultural hub

A Thin Line Between the Living and the Dead: Photographic Competition

12 April 2019

It is a thin line between life and death. This is especially apparent in a place like the “Desert of the Mamluks”. On this stretch along the escarpment of the Muqattam hills, a Muslim necropolis was established in the 14th century, away from Historic Cairo bustling with life and far from agricultural land along the Nile. People were buried there, but people were always also meant to live there. This is also true today, when the ‘City of the Dead’ is home to numerous communities. Like all the ‘City of the Dead’, the area around the monumental complex of Sultan Qaitbey in the Desert of the Mamluks has a very special urban character. Here, magnificent historic monuments overlook nondescript shacks. The silence of the cemetery coexists with the busy life of the local community. This is where one encounters death and life, where opposites meet. Here, one sees the traditional and the contemporary, light and darkness, old and new – side by side. In this spirit, we invited creative photographers from all walks of life to participate in a photographic competition  to portrait the unique and ever-changing character of the Sultan Qaitbey area.
The exhibition on 12 – 26 April 2019 in the Maq‘ad of Sultan Qaitbey presented the best 44 photographs selected from 119 entries by 44 photographers by a jury by Egyptian and foreign experts in photography and historic preservation.


The jury chose Rania Husain al-Turki as the overall winner of the competition.
In the category “Yesterday” the first, second and third prizes went to Muhammad ‘Abd al-Zaher ‘Abd al-‘Alim,  Hisham Hasan Tawahid and Shadi al-Faham for photographs focusing on historic heritage.

In the category “Today”, for photographs focusing on the life of present-day community among this heritage, the prizes went to Michael Hanna, Mustafa Shurbagi and Muhammad Kamal Muhammad.


The prizes were generously funded by InterContinental Cairo Semiramis Hotel,  Room Art Space,  CairopolitanNile Kayak Club,  Austrian Cultural Forum, the American University in Cairo Press, and The White Owl.


The event was part of the EU-funded project

Heritage for the Living in the 'City of the Dead'.

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Project funded by the European Union

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