Egypt's wealth fund to develop Cairo Citadel district into tourist destination

The fund aims to restore the run-down district's historic buildings and create museums, theatres and traditional market places.

  
Image used for illustrative pruposes. A general view of Saladin Citadel at the centre of downtown Cairo, Egypt, January 21, 2018.

Image used for illustrative pruposes. A general view of Saladin Citadel at the centre of downtown Cairo, Egypt, January 21, 2018.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO- Egypt's antiquities authority is to transfer Cairo's historic Bab al-Azab district - with Ottoman-era architecture and the medieval Citadel overlooking the capital - to its sovereign wealth fund to develop into a tourism destination.

The wealth fund will in turn will bring in private interests to help in its development, it and the antiquities authority said in a joint statement on Tuesday. The area lies directly under the Citadel, an imposing fortification dating to the 13th century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the 1970s.

The fund aims to restore the run-down district's historic buildings and create museums, theatres and traditional market places. No timeline for the project was given.

The antiquities council will retain ultimate management control of the historic buildings, the joint statement said.

Negotiations between the two organisations have been going on since the Egyptian cabinet approved the undertaking in principle in December.

"The fund will team up with experienced private investors to develop the Bab Al-Azab site," said fund CEO Ayman Soliman.

Egyptian resort and property tycoon Samih Sawiris has been involved in talks to help develop the site, Soliman said in December.

(Reporting by Patrick Werr Editing by Mark Heinrich ) ((patrick.werr@thomsonreuters.com;))