CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE VISITOR ATTRACTION
It is known that the Urban Regeneration project for Historic Cairo has been specially developed to improve the failures of past experience which included delimitation of the site and unclear protective measures for maintenance of urban and architectural values (Urban Regeneration Project for Historic Cairo, 2011).The Urban Regeneration project for Historic Cairo (Fig.3) has been requested by the World Heritage Committee and is considered to be an effective “initiative for the elaboration of the conservation/management tools for historic Cairo”. (Urban Regeneration Project for Historic Cairo, 2011:1).
Fig.3 Historic Cairo Heritage
It is known that conservations projects of historical urban areas are focused on “restoration of buildings and monuments side by side with cultural, social and economic development of the inhabitants” and promotion of commercial business (Lamei, 2011:49). The Urban Regeneration project was successfully initiated in 2009 with the participation of Egyptian Cultural Heritage at UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Besides, in 2010, the project has been adopted by local authorities who are interested in successful development of tourism industry in Egypt. Today it is known that the project is focused on several objectives which are included in the project’s long term strategy. The first one is focused on the conservation and rehabilitation strategy specially developed to preserve the heritage values of Cairo and to regenerate social and economic environment (Urban Regenerating Project for Historic Cairo, 2011).The second objective is based on the establishment of a special management system for historic Cairo. The third objective is focused on public awareness-raising activities for urban conservation (Urban Regenerating project for Historic Cairo, 2011).
Today it is found that the impact of Al-Azhar park on the life and development of the city is tremendous (Fig.4). The park as one of the most popular visitor attractions in Cairo has been specially planned with a multitude of activities for tourists, and it “incorporates a conceptualized hilltop lookout kiosk, a children’s play area, an amphitheater and stage, playing fields, a viewing plaza and a historical wall promenade” (Al-Azhar Park, 2011).
Fig.4 View of Al-Azhar Park
Moreover, Al-Azhar park can be considered “a tool” for improving the culture and aesthetics of the neighborhood (Fig.5). Today the Al-Azhar development project has proved its effectiveness. There is a special microcredit program in the project which is specially designed to improve living condition of the residents, to restore their dwellings and create new businesses in order to reduce the level of unemployment in Cairo (Al-Azhar Park, 2011). Besides, this project includes a number of specially developed programs to provide training and healthcare services for local population. It means that the life of all residents has changed. Many people have got jobs or set up their own businesses. In addition, creating this park in Cairo entailed restoring or reconstructing many historical monuments in the district of Darb Al-Ahmar (Cairo: Urban Regeneration in the Darb Al-Ahmar District, 2005).
Fig.5 Aerial View over the Al-Azhar Park
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that such visitor attraction as Al –Azhar Park in historic Cairo, Egypt is really a catalyst for urban regeneration. This visitor attraction helps to improve the life of local population as Al-Azhar Park attracts thousands of tourists each year. Those programs and projects of urban regeneration that have already been developed and implemented in Cairo give an opportunity to maintain sustainability in the local community, although the surrounding territory still requires reconstruction. It means that the visitor attraction discussed in this paper has met its long-term strategic goals and is rather successful as a visitor attraction.
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