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Vol. 6 No. 1 (2021): Visual Spaces of Change: photographic documentation of environmental transformations

A Walk through Urban Decay: al-Hattaba Is Worth Saving!




Beyond the glamour of Cairo history lies a different side of the city that unravels the unique beauty of urban decay. Al-Hattaba, a UNESCO heritage area, is caught in between these narrations of beauty and decay; the beautiful home whose inhabitants want to keep and grow, and the formally enlisted dangerous informal space subject to eviction and demolition.

Al-Hattaba embraces the beauty of its rich and diverse history, growing through time. It beholds moments of prosperity, failure, change, beauty, and loss.

Urban decay photography is used to interpret al-Hattaba’s controversy and explore the bonds between time and memory. We take the reader through a visual journey in al-Hattaba.

It constitutes a photo-sequence that considers al-Hattaba in reflection of its background context, the Citadel of Saladin; historic and residential buildings, some abandoned and attempts of local renovation. This urban setting reflects a rich visual diversity that witnessed its changes through time. We argue that the essence of al-Hattaba’s beauty is in its urban decay. It is a space that will never fail to amaze its visitors with its hidden beauty.


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