Tomb of Egyptian author Taha Hussein damaged by building work

Government set to cover repair costs at cemetery in Old Cairo

Taha Hussein’s tomb in Al Khalifa, Cairo. Photo: Maha Aon
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Construction work on a new overpass in the Old Cairo district of Al Khalifa has caused damage to the renowned Egyptian writer Taha Hussein's tomb, one of many in the area that houses the remains of a high-profile figure.

The back wall of the tomb's courtyard almost collapsed during construction, Hussein’s granddaughter, Maha Aon, told The National. However, support was put in place by the government to hold it up.

The roof of the mausoleum was also damaged, as well as a seating area inside the courtyard.

Ms Aon said: “As you can see from photos, the front is also a mess because of the red ‘x’ with spray paint and then painting over it with yellow. The entire wall surrounding the place will have to be redone and there are now holes in the brick from the support they installed to keep the walls from collapsing.

Municipal officials have agreed to renovate the tomb and to repair any damage, Ms Aon said, revealing that she has been promised that restorations would begin after the Eid Al Fitr holiday.

The government has agreed to cover the costs.

The tomb had been scheduled for demolition to make way for the flyover, but the government reversed its decision after strong opposition on social media.

Last May, a red cross was painted on the outside of the tomb, a sign left by municipal officials on buildings to inform demolition crews which structures they should bring down. Days later, it was painted over in yellow.

In September, the word demolition was daubed on the outside of the tomb leading to outrage from Hussein’s admirers.

Thousands of tombs in the City of the Dead — a medieval necropolis in Islamic Cairo that is also a Unesco heritage site — have been removed to make way for a corridor connecting a complex network of new road bridges in the densely populated area.

Updated: April 19, 2023, 3:35 PM