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Ottoman, Mamluki heritage sites crumble in Egypt

Egypt's grand old fountains, poorhouses and other monuments from the Ottoman era have been neglected for years.

Cairo — Muhammed Ali Pasha, the Ottoman viceroy often named as the founder of modern Egypt, did a good job of keeping the intrusive hand of the Ottoman Empire out of the political and military affairs of Egypt. He was more welcoming, however, toward the Ottoman architecture and decorations. One notable example is the elegant sebil, a public fountain or kiosk that offers water to travelers that he built in 1820. It was the first of its kind in Cairo with gilded window grills, calligraphic panels in Ottoman Turkish and delicately carved marble brought from Anatolia.

Located on Moez Street in Cairo’s Al-Aqqadin district, the Muhammed Ali Pasha sebil is a popular and well-restored monument of the Ottoman era — unlike many of the 300 others in the Egyptian capital.

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