Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Demolishing the perfumers agency in Islamic Cairo : What History Do We brag about in Egypt !!?

As Egyptians , we like to brag all the time about we are the oldest nation with a recorded civilization in the globe with 3000 B.C history or even 7000 B.C history and yet all that we are currently doing in Egypt now is watching how our history, our heritage is being demolished in front of our eyes for the sake of so-called modernism.

On Monday, I was hit by the news that the ancient “Perfumers agency” which was built originally from 900 years ago by the orders of Middle Cairo district because it allegedly imposes a danger on the public.
Perfumers agency now
The Perfumers agency after it was demolished "Facebook"
Shamefully Egypt’s ministry of antiquities said that it was not a monument and was not registered as one and that Cairo governorate issued a demolishment order due to safety reasons.

The ministry's officials now say that the only thing ancient in the place was the facade !!

 The former head of Islamic antiquities authority says on the other hand that the building should have been renovated adding that the facade and parts of the building were all part of the ancient building of the agency that disappeared by time. 
The perfumers agency in the old days
The entrance of the agency before it was demolished 
Amazingly from four days ago, Egypt’s Administrative prosecution announced that investigated in the matter as citizens presented filed a complaint against that demolishment order and it recommended that it should be registered as a monumental building due to its history.

Cairo governorate and the Ministry of antiquities ignored the findings and the recommendation to the Administrative Prosecution.

The history of Cairo’s last Perfumers agency

Located at Muizz street in Islamic Cairo, the perfumers' agency was reportedly built as a prison from 900 years ago when the Fatimids built Cairo to be their Capital according to Egyptian historian Al-Maqrizi.

It became an agency or a market for perfumers in the time of Mamluks Era during the rule of Sultan Al-Mansur Qalawun.

During the Ottomans rule in Egypt, it was renovated and then in the 19th century during Mohamed Ali Pasha’s rule had undergone another renovation under the supervision of Yacoub Pasha Sabri.
Since then it was registered as a Waqf for charity officially but for some reason, it was sold in the 1960s to some people whereas it hosted many shops working in local perfumes industry.
The agency after it was demolished in February 2019
The agency after it was demolished in February 2019
In 2005, after a fire in the agency and with the lack of any renovations and maintenance works, a decision was taken to demolish.
The word was said that the agency was going to be demolished so a modern mall would be built instead of it Muizz street !!

I do not understand why or how the officials are shortsighted in seeing the lost opportunity in renovating that old market turning in to another touristic attraction in Muizz street !!
Already I do not understand the fate of that land in Muizz street after the demolishment of the ancient agency especially Muizz street is part of the Islamic Cairo, you can’t build a so-called modern mall there !!

Why was not it renovated instead? Why?

I feel too angry and too sad


  1. Dear Zeinobia,

    I feel with you, it makes me very sad. I am from Austria and was very often in Cairo. I was so impressed by the cultural heritage oft he city that I decided to write a book on Cairo in German. It was launched on 22nd October 2018. I did a lot of research, visited the places of interest often an took many pics. The book was my way to say thank you to the Egypt.

    Wish you all the best, greetings Leone

    1. Where is your book 📖 now ? Here on the internet? Possible to look at it ?


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