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Lataif Al Qahira

A project to record and document the architecture and urbanism of Cairo from the beginning of the nineteenth century until the middle of the twentieth century. Tarek Waly Center Architecture and Heritage initiated this project several years ago, and work is still underway to achieve its goals. A project requires the concerted efforts of individuals and institutions, as it is a non-profit national project. The project aims to build and publish an open-access digital database for the architecture and urbanization of "Cairo and Giza" for those interested and concerned, to identify the factors that shaped the image of Cairo in that period, and to monitor the changes occurring in that image.

A set of scientific standards has been set upon which to register and document the architectural and urban heritage of Cairo. The center is committed to taking all measures towards investigating accuracy and scientific integrity, reviewing and auditing the published information, clarifying sources of information and documentation references, and taking into account the intellectual and legal rights of the institutions and individuals who own the published materials, and the commitment as well. By mentioning all the shareholders, individuals or institutions.

The database will be published digitally as an open access on a dedicated website in Arabic and English. It will be accessed through the website of Tarek Waly Center Architecture and Heritage and the partner sites .. Also social media accounts will be allocated to the database to spread the idea, communicate and follow up with the target audience .. As a future step, the center intends to link the database with other significant databases and research sites. Scientific, historical and open publishing sites to ensure access to the largest possible number of the target audience.

The main axes of the data base

We weave the data base from the main axes and strings, which are, for example, but not limited to:

Actors: individuals and institutions

  • Owner: individuals from different classes, public and community institutions.
  • Occupants: members of the community residing in Cairo who are residents, users, or beneficiaries of the activities and uses of the facility or those who frequent it.
  • Designers: Of the Egyptian architects, about 120 architects were spotted at that stage, and about 100 non-Egyptian and Orientalist architects.
  • Executors: contracting companies operating in Cairo.
  • Developers: Real estate investment companies operating in Cairo, more than 70 companies have been monitored.

Actions: change and persistence

  • Changes in the names of buildings, streets, and neighborhoods
  • Changes in uses
  • The position of its ownership and occupation
  • The current status and condition
  • Past and present societal role
  • Legal protection (the role of the state)


Buildings (residential, administrative, governmental, cultural, religious, educational, commercial, health ...) . until now, an inventory that includes about 1500 buildings in Cairo created by Egyptian and foreign architects have been recorded, and their locations have been determined according to streets, regions and neighborhoods, their original date of establishment. Those buildings were classified into residential buildings, approximately 500 mansions and housing for the upper and upper middle class of Cairo residents and about 200 residential buildings, 110 administrative and government buildings, 30 educational buildings, 20 cultural buildings, 70 religious buildings, 20 health buildings, 35 industrial buildings and other buildings are being under research.


  • References and literature: The project relies on collecting and checking information on various references, whether historical, architectural or urban, which are represented in the center’s library, which is close to 400 books and references, in addition to our digital library that includes a huge collection of books, references, reports, studies, articles, etc..
  • Photographs and paintings. The project is based on a group of photographs of approximately 1,300 photographs of Cairo at the beginning of the twentieth century, as well as nearly 1,800 paintings depicting various scenes from Cairo in the nineteenth century, in addition to our own collection of modern photographs that record the urbanization of Cairo in the twenty-first century..
  • Architectural drawings and sketches: The project includes a valuable collection of architectural drawings and design sketches of Cairo buildings in that period by Egyptian architects and other foreigners and orientalists, whether included in the various references or included in the center’s archive for pioneers of architecture.
  • Maps: The project depends on what has been monitored so far in terms of maps more than 130 maps that represent the spatial reference and their variables with the temporal sequence.

Project objectives:

  • Publishing the Cairo Architecture and Urbanism database in the nineteenth and twentieth century as an online open-source database, which records the urban and architectural heritage, whether it is subject to legal protection or does not.
  • Training of young professionals in documenting and recording architectural and urban heritage.
  • Providing the capacity for conservation, restoration or protection projects.
  • Raising community awareness of the city's architectural and urban heritage.
  • Identifying the possibilities of rehabilitation for those unexploited sites and the economic return from them
  • Introducing the cultural, and tourism impact of these sites
  • Coordination with agencies, institutions and individuals working in the field to integrate efforts and information and avoid duplication
  • Consensus about the classifications, functions, names and terminology associated with the architecture and urbanism of Cairo.