The ILUCIDARE team recently travelled to the Egyptian capital for a coaching session on the restoration of the Takiyyat Ibrahim al-Gulshani in its broader urban context.
During the coaching session, the ILUCIDARE team led by the World Monuments Fund embarked in an inspirational visit around historic Cairo to understand tile work in the city and capture its urban dynamics.
Meetings were held with the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism to define possible collaboration as well as the American University in Cairo, the Al-Azhar University, local experts and professionals.
Paving the way for capacity building
The capacity building sessions to take place later this year will focus on the Takiyyat Ibrahim al-Gulshani residential religious complex. Dating from 1524 , the complex consists of a freestanding Mamluk-style mausoleum in the middle of a courtyard framed by Sufi cells, mosque, kitchen, shops and apartments for his devoted followers and family members.
The front building of the Takiyyat complex is currently home to the World Monuments Fund’s Cairo office.
The Takiyyat Ibrahim al-Gulshani complex lies in various states of ruin, victim of financial limitations, earthquakes, looting, and changing religious administrative structures. As such, it was was part of the 2018 WMF Watch. One of the major issues, similar to other sites in Cairo, is the looting of valuable tiles.
The first ILUCIDARE capacity building session will take place in June 2020. The objective of the 6-day training is to define a future restoration strategy for the mausoleum at the heart of the Takiyyat Ibrahim al-Gulshani site. It will particularly focus on:
- Tile restoration: what can we keep, what can we replace without losing authenticity? Do we go for the reproduction of the tiles which are lost, based on what design and are they distinguishable from those which are still there?
- Plaster and wood restoration: they are the main materials of the mausoleum but technical knowledge on how to best restore them is still lacking.
Involving local and European experts, restoration company owners and different levels of administration, the capacity building will be a collective endeavour to define the future restoration strategy of the mausoleum.
A second capacity building in October will take a broader view to heritage restoration, considering the urban dimension in the future management / adaptive re-use strategy of Takiyyat Ibrahim al-Gulshani. We will look at historic preservation as a horizontal challenge of urban management, avoiding isolating heritage areas from the rest of the city. This session will place Takiyyat Ibrahim al-Gulshani in its larger urban context and highlight the importance of vibrant community engagement and local stewardship in the sustainable preservation of heritage sites. This will be the opportunity to bring in joint EU-local expertise in the topic and to embed ILUCIDARE activities in the Cairo urban fabric.
More info: check out our partner WMF's blog on Watch Day at Takiyyat Ibrahim al-Gulshani