Saturday, March 30, 2019

Saving Egyptian Heritage : The old Italian Phosphate Company Colony in El-Quseir

God knows that I still feel sad about how that small watches shop in Downtown Cairo inaugurated in 1907 demolished “wait for a video clip about it”, only the same thing is being repeated in another place.

In the south of Egypt at the rich-history yet the small city of El-Quseir lays a small abandoned and forgotten complex that like a small colony made by an Italian mining company and it is a time capsule.
Italian Colony in El-Qoseir
One of the administration buildings in the site now "Sebaq"
This Italian colony was founded by an Italian mining company for phosphate mining in the red sea in 1910.
Villa Italia with the Egyptian and Italian flags "Ashraf Baraka"
The employees and their families in the colony in 1946 by Ashraf Baraka
The employees and their families in the colony in 1946 by Ashraf Baraka 

An overview from the company and its mine in the past by Ashraf Baraka
An overview from the company and its mine in the past by Ashraf Baraka 
A little piece of information: This area including El-Quseir is extremely rich in minerals above them phosphate.
Italian Colony in El-Quseir
The entrance of the Italian Colony in El-Quseir "Sebaq"
It was not a phosphate mine only that the company constructed but a small urban colony for its Italian employees and workers as well as their families.
The church and the school I guess in the past by "Ashraf Baraka"
The church and the school I guess in the past by "Ashraf Baraka"
Italian Colony in El-Quseir
The remaining buildings in the colonies including
houses and a school as well the church now in Al-Quseir "Sebaq"
Aside from the industrial and administration buildings, there was a church and an Italian school.
There is also a taxidermy museum in the colony that contains a collection of mounted animals, birds and sea creatures from the area.
Italian Colony in El-Quseir
One of the buildings in the Italian Colony in El-Quseir by Nourhan Obaid 
The administration company still got documents including valuable maps for the roads in the Eastern deserts since the time of the Romans according to the locals as well as graphs of the mines productions from 1916 till 1966.

Italian Colony in El-Quseir
The files and folders are still there in the colony "Sebaq"
There was also a rest house for the important guests visiting the mines including a suite for King Fouad I who visited the colony in 1926 when he inaugurated new mines in the area.
King Fouad I in his visit to the mines and
I think the man on the right is Hassanen Pasha
"Ashraf Baraka" 
King Farouk and President Gamal Abdel Nasser also used that rest house and its royal suite during their visit to the area.
For nearly 50 years “Red Sea Phosphate Company” was operating then it was nationalized and was owned and operated till 1996 by State-owned Nasr Mining Company.
Italian Colony in El-Quseir
One of the abandoned industrial buildings in the colony in El-Quseir "Sebaq"
The whole place is like a time capsule, something you can find in Atlas Obscura.
Already I do not know why it was neglected and was not used for example as film sets.
Italian Colony in El-Quseir
One of the industrial buildings in El-Quseir colony,
you can see a small mosque in the far right "Sebaq"
Admirably, the people of El-Quseir kept it as much as they can all those decades and now they are trying to defend it for one last time.

Italian Colony in El-Quseir
An Arabic typewriter in the offices of the colony at El-Quseir " Sebaq"
Now the government agreed to transfer the ownership of the colony or rather its land from the State-owned Nasr Mining Company to the governorate so it could sell the land for allegedly at least 2 billion Egyptian pounds according to the news reports and transfer it in a sea resort.

Italian Colony in El-Quseir
One of the administrative building in the colony "Sebaq"
The people of El-Quseir city refuse that and consider that small colony a part of the city’s heritage that should not be sold, at least the buildings in that colony.

On Friday, Al-Masry Al-Youm Daily said that two citizens of EQuseirir filed a complained and reported the matter to the Red Sea prosecution in a hope that it would stop an auction that would be held to sell its content next week.

The two citizens are part of a bigger group in the people of El-Quseir who reject the demolishment of the colony and are demanding its registration in the ministry of antiquities as an industrial minuteman place and part of Egypt’s heritage.

Yes, the Italian Phosphate Company Complex or Colony is actually an Egyptian heritage that should be preserved and saved for future generations.
Italian Colony in El-Quseir
A scale in one of the abandoned laboratories
in El-Quseir colony "Sebaq"

I do not have doubt that General Ahmed Abdullah, the current governor of Red Sea governorate cares only about that achievement about how many millions of pounds and dollars or tourist resorts he managed to inaugurate in the governorate with no regards to the cultural and social as well the environmental impacts of those projects.

Still, General Abdullah should be told about how this small Italian Colony became a tourist attraction itself for many Egyptians and foreigners now, it is niche tourism that has actually given El-Qoseir a special place in Egypt.

There are many ways to gain millions of dollars and pounds from that place if it is properly used if we just think outside the box.

Unfortunately, I know that this post comes in a very late time

I only knew about what is happening from tweeps online including Sebaq and then I followed the matter in news websites that speak about it shyly

That abandoned colony was on my bucket list of places to visit in Egypt, I pray that it remains as it is.

I recommend you to see this Twitter moments post  I made from the tweets of Mr. Ashraf Baraka who visited the colony actually with photos from that time we had a little Italy Colony in the far south of Egypt for nearly 50 years. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank You for your comment
Please keep it civilized here, racist and hateful comments are not accepted
The Comments in this blog with exclusion of the blog's owner does not represent the views of the blog's owner.