Conference to evaluate restoration operations at Islamic Cairo
Egypt, History, 2/27/2002
Upon an initiative from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture a conference for assessing ongoing restoration at Islamic Cairo has been held with a view to determining work system in the forthcoming phase.
With the participation of 70 foreign experts in addition to a number of Egyptian archaeologists, the five-day conference is brimming with seminars, lectures and field visits.
The list of relevant archaeological sites includes the Sultan Al Ghuri complex, Wikalet Qaitbay, the northern Cairo wall, Al Silihdar collection and Ahmed Ibn Toloun Mosque.
The main purpose, however, of the conference is scientific and objective evaluation of work so far carried out and determining priorities for the coming phase.
Yet the third implied aim is to reply to the campaign launched by those who find fault in the restoration methods applied by the ministry.
The Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni has said that the conference was meant to allow all parties to express their viewpoints about the pros and cons of the project.
"We are keen to make the conference under the supervision of the UNESCO," he added.
He noted that the conference administration had invited Mrs. Caroline William who had written a letter addressed to Mrs. Mubarak urging her to interfere to stop what she termed as faulty restoration methods.
Archaeologists who had signed the letter were invited as well.
It was said that restoration operations of Al Ghuri Mosque were rather renovations that belittled the historic value of the mosque. The complaining group had asked for the specialised opinion of UNESCO experts.
As Dr Gaballah Ali Gaballah explained the report of the UNESCO committee indicated the soundness of the restoration process carried out and that restorers were keen to deal in original materials.
However, the recommendations of the conference to be issued shortly are to reveal the opinion of international experts in restoration techniques implemented under the supervision of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
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