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Heritage and Antiquities | ECESR Brings Action to Preserve “Fustat Land” Area Historical Monuments and Landmarks

The ECESR brought an action [1] before the Administrative Court to oblige the government to make a decision admitting the (Evacuation of Arab Contractors) land, historically known as the land of Fustat, as an archaeological land, along with the consequent measures, particularly: the expropriation of land for public benefit, taking the necessary measures to maintain the land, removing all encroachments, and making the excavation work necessary to look for the antiquities in this land.

The facts of the case dates back to June 4, 2014, when the Supreme Council of Antiquities received the report No. 264 of the General Director of Fostat Antiquities Area on the allocation of (the Evacuation of Arab Contractors) land to the governorate to build a park on it. The General Director said that Cairo governorate started works and preparations to build the park to the contrary of the Monuments Protection Act.

Furthermore, the Cairo governorate has raised a big sign at the land entrance declaring its ownership to the land, despite the fact that the land is subject to the Monuments Protection Act [2]. According to this fact, the land is owned by the state and registered as an antiquity. Therefore, Cairo Governorate is not entitled to allocate or otherwise dispose of or deal with it without the approval of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

But the claimant found that the Cairo Governorate had begun surrounding the above-mentioned land with a fence and embarked on the construction and excavation works for the establishment of new projects, which threaten retaining its historical value and the loss of fossils and antiquities inside it.

The Establ Antar area, known as the Evacuation of the Arab Contractors land—Fustat Land—is one of the first neighborhoods of the city of Fustat and part of the first Islamic capital, founded by Amr ibn al-Aas in 642 AD. A report issued by the French Scientific Institute of Oriental Antiquities (IFAO) on the fossils and discoveries of Establ Antar, submitted by the project manager Dr. Roland Giraud, said that the fossils discovered are the only ones in the Muslim world and will shed inevitably different light on the birth of Islamic art, especially in the field of architecture, as well as chronicling the techniques and styles used in the era stretching from the second half of the seventh century until the twelfth century. The area, according to the report, contains important shrines and tombs of prominent people from the Almaafr tribe, the founding tribe of Establ Antar, that dates back to the eighth century AD, in addition to Magra el-Eyoon, which was established in Establ Antar area in 762 AD and many other important and unique monuments and fossils.

So, we emphasize the need to protect this land from any messes and the inadmissibility of using it for the establishment of a school or park. A land with such important and historical value is an Egyptian treasure that must be maintained and taken care of, and not to be left to wreak fingers of corruption and theft as we saw in different historical periods of Egypt’s history until the present time.

This is only one among other lawsuits filed by the ECESR in order to protect Egypt’s antiquities, which extend to different civilizations (Ancient Egyptian, Roman, Coptic, Islamic and modern) as well as valuable archaeological places such as palaces, museums and architectural styles constructed with methods belong to several technical schools. All these antiquities constitute a fortune and milestones in the Egyptian history.

[1] Lawsuit 2725/69 on behalf of Sally Soliman

[2] Act 117/1983 as amended by Law No. 3 and No. 61 for the year 2010, under the Ministerial Decree No. 158 of 1981

Fustat Land Challenge Notice [Arabic]