Visitors to Al-Darb al-Ahmar are fascinated by its architectural treasures demonstrating knows how important history is in shaping the future. Al-Darb al-Ahmar district has also a vibrant community and can be considered the heart and soul of the Historic Cairo with dozens of unique historic monuments that truly show what the history of the Egyptian capital is like.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture is a private, non-profit and non-denominational, philanthropic foundation. It is an integral part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a family of institutions created by His Highness the Aga Khan, with distinct yet complementary mandates to improve the welfare and prospects of people in countries in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Africa. Its Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme (AKHCP) undertakes specific, direct interventions focused on physical, social, and economic revitalization of historic sites in the developing world.
In Cairo, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) has been involved since the end of the 1990s in urban rehabilitation and a significant number of monument restoration projects in Al-Darb Al-Ahmar area. These projects were planned and implemented in the same time as the Al-Azhar Park construction and landscaping, together with the restoration of the 1.5km long Easter Ayyubid City Wall.
On the intra-muros side of the wall, the neighborhood of Darb al-Ahmar, one of the most populous areas of Cairo, featured one of the richest concentrations of Islamic art and architecture in the world. Darb al-Ahmar Street became the main North-South spine of Historic Cairo soon after the construction of the Citadel by Salah-al-Din. When the sultan’s processions and social festivals started to follow the route from the Citadel to the central markets and palaces, dignitaries of the Mamluk court built their mosques, madrasas and mausoleums along Darb al-Ahmar Street in the 14th and 15th centuries. Among those monument restored by AKTC in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and co-funding by a number of organizations between 2000 and 2015 are the following:
The Darb al-Ahmar Rehabilitation by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture also included other projects aimed at providing stimulus for social and economic development, such as:
Operations of Al-Azhar Park also include a social dimension as more than 70% of the employees are from Al-Darb Al-Ahmar.
The Al-Azhar Park is an ideal start for touring the Darb al-Ahmar district Park was designed to be a platform for the exploration of the glories of medieval Cairo. The suggested itineraries build upon the historical tradition of the North-South Mamluk processional route.
The following descriptions highlight some of the most important monuments along the tourist itinerary, starting in the Park and exploring the Ayyubid Wall and Al-Darb al-Ahmar significant landmarks.