Sunday, November 14, 2021

Egypt’s Queen Farida at 100: Please Save her tomb, Safeguard Historic Cairo Cemeteries "Updated"

This month does not mark only the centenary of Princess Fawzia Fouad, it is also the centenary of Egypt’s Queen Farida.

Queen Farida is by far the most popular Queen/First lady in Egypt in modern times. We are speaking about an amazing model of an Egyptian woman who did not bend due to hard circumstances whether political or economic situations.

From Egypt’s privileged upper class to the Royal throne to become a young popular Queen then to get a divorce then to face political and economic upheavals then to become a prominent artist in exile before returning to Egypt, Queen Farida was a unique example of Egyptian strong independent woman when you think about it.

I want to write something about her jewelry collection at the Egyptian Royal Jewelry Museum but due to time limits, I could not because it is bigger than Fawzia’s collection.

Instead, I am writing this sad post

The Egyptian government decides to remove the cemetery of Queen Farida giving her family’s descendants very short notice to transfer the remains of their ancestors among other families to very small cemeteries at the 15th May city’s outskirts because of new highways and bridges plan in Cairo.

Queen Farida's tomb at her family cemetery in Cairo 
"Seif Allah Zulficar

So instead of a special exhibit featuring Queen Farida, her jewelry and her art in any of the so many museums we have in Egypt, this is how the Egyptian government celebrates her centenary.

It is not only the Zulficars’ cemetery that is threatened with demolishment; there are even more cemeteries for prominent figures and more significant cemeteries from an architectural point of view.

We are speaking about the tombs of figures like the founding father of Fine arts school legendary Prince Youssef Kamel, Princess Fatimah Haider who was buried at her husband’s cemetery “The Yakans”, the commander chief of the Egyptian army during Khedive Ismail’s era Mohamed Rateb Pasha, Ibrahim Pasha Halim “The grandson of Mohamed Ali Pasha”, Sabry Pasha Abu Alam “The former Minister of Justice, head of the opposition in the Senate and most important a man who played an important role in founding Cairo University”, Ali Pasha Maher, Poet Hafiz Ibrahim and late Grand Imam of Al Azhar Sheikh Shams El-Din Mohamed El-Hafny.

Inside the amazing cemetery of late Sheikh Shams El-Din Mohamed "Ahmed El-Namis"
Inside the amazing mausoleum of late
Sheikh Shams El-Din Mohamed "Ahmed El-Namis"

In addition, there are many unknown commoner Egyptians who are buried there and should be left alone.

The attack on Cairo’s city of the dead continues despite they are included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site of Historic Cairo. If you remember this attack began last year and it seems that it is back as some thought we would have forgotten.

In some irony, the Egyptian government celebrated the 75th anniversary of founding the UNESCO last week.

Mausoleum of late Ibrahim Pasha Halim
The Mausoleum of late Ibrahim Pasha Halim, Mohamed Ali Pasha's 

Those cemeteries already should be renovated and safeguarded as Egyptian heritage, as a Cairo heritage. It is another example of how modern Egyptians kept the traditions of celebrating death as only another stop in the long afterlife just like their ancestors, the ancient Egyptians.

Already I could not believe myself when people began to share those photos from inside and how we are giving up this amazing art and heritage so easy.

The people who are buried there including some of the pioneers in their fields who play an important role in founding Modern Egypt as a regional power whether political or cultural or socially in the 20th century.

Sabri Pasha Abu Alam's Mausoleum
The amazing ceiling of Sabri Pasha Abu Alam's Mausoleum 
"Photo by Dr Mostafa El-Sadek"

The least thing we can do to pay our respect to them is to renovate their tombs and leave them resting in Cairo’s City of the Dead till the end of time inshallah.

The Egyptian government and the Cairo governorate should have a true talk with the society and experts because I am sure there are many solutions to solve traffic without destroying this rich Egyptian heritage.

For more info about what is happening at Historic Cairo's cemeteries, follow this Facebook page.

Updated: There are more families besides Queen Farida's rejecting the decision of the government and Cairo governorate that should be implemented by the end of this year like the family of legendary Egyptian actor Youssef Wahbi.

I did a Twitter event in Arabic with more details and more photos 

1 comment:

  1. I heard you have a plague of scorpions in Aswan!


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