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The City of the Dead is a millenary cemetery full of historical-artistic mausoleums and sufi sheikh shrines located in the Eastern suburbs of Cairo. Its steady appearance over time and the rocks, which impels fear on the Egyptians self, actually hides a microcosm full of life where entire families have grown up. Historical evidence shows that the cemetery has been inhabited since its first construction, but a massive movement of people occurred in the 50s with the phenomenon of urbanization of the capital. Among (and in) the tombs people are born, live and die. The City of the Dead has a very active economy, walking among the tombs you can find shops and workshops, shoemakers, mother-pearl inlayers, lute makers, blown glass artisans and much more. Every Friday morning the southern area of the cemetery, next to Sayyeda Aisha Mosque, hosts one of the biggest open market in Africa, mainly specialized in animals. Although the inhabitants of the City of the Dead have obtained over the years some basic services such as electricity, water and post offices, the Government had forbidden the habitation and wants to forcibly transfer the locals to new cities in desert territories outside of Cairo, triggering different reactions from the people. Some hope for a real house, but others are instead fond of the place where they were born and raised and where their social life is.

Click on the photo to enlarge and scroll the slider. All picutres © Antonino Condorelli 2020