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Al-Azhar Park, Cairo, Egypt.

AKDN / Gary Otte

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Maridani Mosque prayer hall, view to the south, with marble mosaics on the qibla and the minbar (after …

AKTC / Adrien Buchet

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In Cairo, Egypt the restoration of the Khayrbek Mosque Complex has been a key initiative of the Trust, …

AKDN / Adrien Buchet


Mosque of Amir Aqsunqur al-Nassery, also known as the Blue Mosque (1347), Darb al-Ahmar, Cairo, Egypt.

AKDN / Matjaz Kacicnik

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Khayrbek Mosque Complex. Mausoleum, after restoration. Given its location adjacent to the southern gate to …

AKDN / Adrien Buchet

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Egypt | Cultural Development

1.5 million

Al-Azhar Park, formerly a rubbish dump, hosts 1.5 million visitors per year

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Al-Azhar Park represents the transformation of a rubble dump that had been used for over 500 years into one of Cairo's largest green spaces, including a formal garden area, palm avenue and water channel.

AKDN / Christian Richters

Historic Cities Programme

With nearly two million visitors a year, the US$ 30 million Al-Azhar Park – a gift from His Highness the Aga Khan to the city of Cairo – not only generates enough funds for its own maintenance (through gate and restaurant receipts), but has proven to be a powerful catalyst for urban renewal in the neighbouring district of Darb al-Ahmar.

During the grading works for the Park, the major portion of the remaining Ayyubid Wall emerged from centuries of debris. AKTC has undertaken conservation, working with local craftspeople to offer vocational training.

In the adjacent low-income neighbourhood of Darb al-Ahmar, AKTC has undertaken social projects including vocational training, housing rehabilitation, street and open space improvement, micro-credit programmes and healthcare facility provision. Several sites and important monuments in Darb al-Ahmar have also been restored and a touristic route established.

Read more about AKTC’s Historic Cities Programme activities in Cairo.

Kronos Quartet em concerto, Cairo, Egito. AKDN / Zoran Orlic

Kronos Quartet in concert, Cairo, Egypt.

AKDN / Zoran Orlic

Aga Khan Music Programme

House of Arts and Culture (DAR) is an administrative entity established by the Aga Khan Music Programme to manage and operate its projects in Egypt. The Programme receives support from donors including the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, as well as collaborators such as the Aga Khan Foundation and Om Habibeh Foundation.

DAR’s projects aim to educate Egyptian youth in artistic disciplines that can lead to future employment opportunities as performing artists. The arts offer youth a chance to explore and connect with their cultural heritage, while creating pathways to a promising new future. At the same time, DAR raises awareness about the value of arts and their role in community and economic development.

Al-Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School was established in 2011. It serves children aged 10-18 through its vocational approach to arts training. Classes are offered in accordion, clarinet, drums, oud, percussion, trombone, and trumpet.

Aswan Music Project opened in 2018. It provides young people up to age 25 with free classes in the traditional music of Aswan, other regions of Egypt and the Arab world. Classes are offered in oud, percussion, and tanbour, and traditional woodwind instruments such as nay, kawala, and arghul.

Both Al-Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School and the Aswan Music Project benefit from the active involvement of the communities they are designed to serve. Current students and graduates have opportunities to perform in DAR ensembles as part of cultural initiatives, private concerts and international festivals.

Find out more about the Aga Khan Music Programme