Egypt resumes restoration of historic al-Zahir Baybars mosque

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Egypt has resumed the restoration of Cairo’s monumental 13th century al-Zahir Baybars mosque, a sign that vital cultural work is finally getting back under way after seven years of political turmoil.

Workers removed dried weeds from inside the mosque and restored fittings. The mosque was built by the Mamluk Sultan al-Zahir Baybars bin Abdullah Al-Bindakari between 1266 and 1268.

Work to restore the mosque began in 2007, but stopped in 2011, the year protesters took to the streets and toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt's Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany attends the restoration work inside al-Zahir Baybars Mosque, an architectural landmark in old Cairo, Egypt October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
An Al-Azhar Sheikh looks at the restoration work inside al-Zahir Baybars Mosque, an architectural landmark in old Cairo, Egypt October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
A minbar, which is a pulpit where an imam (prayer leader) stands to deliver sermons, is seen as workers carry out restoration work inside al-Zahir Baybars Mosque, an architectural landmark in old Cairo, Egypt October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
An Egyptian worker carries out restoration work inside al-Zahir Baybars Mosque, an architectural landmark in old Cairo, Egypt October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Egyptian workers take a rest during the restoration work inside al-Zahir Baybars Mosque, an architectural landmark in old Cairo, Egypt October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Egyptian workers carry out restoration work of the wooden door of al-Zahir Baybars Mosque, an architectural landmark in old Cairo, Egypt October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Egyptian workers carry out restoration work inside al-Zahir Baybars Mosque, an architectural landmark in old Cairo, Egypt October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt has struggled to fund restoration projects since then, as years of street unrest, political upheaval and militant attacks drove away tourists and foreign investors.

Cairo has a wealth of historic buildings of architectural interest, from the ancient era of the pharaohs through the flowering of Islamic civilization. But many monuments are crumbling due to lack of funding and neglect.

The Antiquities Ministry said it expected to complete the 100 million Egyptian pound ($5.57 million) restoration project in 12 to 18 months.

($1 = 17.9400 Egyptian pounds)

CAIRO (Reuters)

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