Today I revisited one of my favorite places in Cairo–the part of the old city where you can see old Ottoman homes, like Beit el Sehemy, that have been restored. Last time I was here, I think there was only one such house in isolation. But this time there are a number of homes, and entire streets, that have been renovated. Now there is also Beit el Harawy, Beit Zeinab Khatoun, and Beit el Sit el Wasila. Three of these homes are like a museum, which you can pay a small fee for a guided tour. And now concerts and other artistic events are held in these spaces. But much of this neighborhood’s refurbished buildings appear in the form of workshops where craftsmen can create products for sale in the shops in other parts of Khan el Khalili.
It seems that the woman behind the rehabilitation of much of this area, and indeed a great deal of Egypt, is Mona Zakaria whose vision restored the streets, homes, and shops (see articles on her work here and here). The workmanship is incredible in every respect as one can see from the photographs below. What was also new this time around was a boutique hotel called Le Riad, which is stunningly restored and decorated. The furniture may not be precisely of the same era of the house, but it is beautiful and tasteful. It is lovely to see that preserving old Cairo has expanded over the past eight years.