Cultural Events in the “City of the Dead” in Cairo

Since late 2015, ARCHiNOS has been working in the Sultan Qaitbey area within Cairo’s “City of the Dead”, where with funding primarily from the EU it conserved a mediaeval building with the purpose of turning it into a hub of art and culture in the neighbourhood and has now extended the work to other parts of the complex. To establish the presence of the cultural centre as part of the local community life, ARCHiNOS periodically organises cultural events that engage the community. Drawing on the huge success of the arts and crafts fair organised for the opening of a previous project by ARCHiNOS in the area, these events combine different activities.

     Local craftspeople display their products and sell them directly to visitors, while varied crafts brought from outside broaden the offer and bring in new ideas. Contemporary artists display their works in different techniques, pieces that otherwise would probably not find their way into the impoverished neighbourhood. There are photographic exhibitions relating to the neighbourhood and its crafts, as well as performances by visiting artists and by local children, and attractions set up especially for children. Workshops are organised for women, children, and youth that combine cultural awareness building with training. The venue also hosts various art exhibitions and lectures. In addition, ARCHiNOS brings foreign artists to Cairo to decorate the small city square that is being renovated to become a fitting setting for the cultural centre.

     These and other activities are intended to continue, building a sustainable presence of long-term benefit to the community. In 2016, a not-for-profit Sultan Foundation was established for the purpose.

     See more about the Sultan’s Fairs in October 2015, December 2015 and March 2016, performances in March 2017 as part of the D-CAF Art Festival, and the New Art Within Old Walls art exhibition in May 2017.

Location: the Eastern Cemetery
(the Desert of the Mamluks,) “City of the Dead”, Cairo

2015 – ongoing,
Agnieszka Dobrowolska, project director

Social and cultural development team:
Iman Sidki, Haitham Moheeb.

Technical team:
Mahmud Badawi, Rehab Sobhy, Jaroslaw Dobrowolski, Ahmad ‘Abd al-Aziz, Ahmad Atiya, and others

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See past events in the Place for Art and
Culture in the Maq’ad of Sultan Qaitbey