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Luxor Corniche

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  • cejo@uchicago.edu
    An Egyptian colleague asks me to forward the following message: ********************** It has come to our attention that a new development program is about to
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 6, 2008
      An Egyptian colleague asks me to forward the following message:

      **********************
      It has come to our attention that a new development program is about to be
      launched in Luxor by the Government of Egypt that focuses on the east bank
      Corniche Boulevard. The goal is to double the width of the Corniche to alleviate
      traffic congestion, create a pedestrian walkway along the Nile, and establish a
      four-kilometer touristic zone along the riverfront between Luxor Temple and
      Karnak Temple. If the current plan is implemented this zone will be at the
      expense of most of the buildings presently along the Corniche boulevard, most
      of which will be demolished or cut back to accommodate the widened street.
      Exceptions are the Luxor Museum, which will only lose its front parking area,
      and the University of Chicago’s headquarters in Luxor, Chicago House, which
      will remain where it is, but will lose its entire front garden area to the new
      street.

      It is hoped that the Luxor City authorities will reject this unecessarily extreme
      plan for a less radical approach that is also being discussed. Building the
      riverbank outward would allow room for a widened Corniche but still preserve
      the buildings and gardens presently along the Nile that give Luxor so much of
      its charm and character. Slated for removal are several older gardens: one part
      of a military club, one in front of a mosque, and another in the front of a Coptic
      Catholic rest house. The historic Chicago House garden in particular would be a
      terrible loss. Over 75 years old, its 24-meter palm trees and dozens of trees
      and flowering bushes were donated as cuttings from the botanical gardens of
      Cairo and Aswan in the 1930s, and are unique in Luxor. Two rows of royal
      palms along the front walk imitate the 14 open papyrus columns of the great
      Colonnade Hall of Luxor Temple, and symbolize the archaeological preservation
      work this institution has accomplished in partnership with Egypt for over 84
      years.

      It may not be too late. Comments in support of a less radical plan for the Luxor
      Corniche can be sent to the office of Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif:

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