One of the great cities of the world, Cairo is an unsurpassed repository of history and civilisation. This illustrated book cuts across the conventional linear understanding of the historical process and examines Cairo in terms of the connection between its physical layout, its historic buildings and its economic, social, cultural and religious life, reflecting on the vital links between the present and the past. Thirty contributions by a wide variety of scholarly experts, architects, restorers and planners give a comprehensive account of past and present in Historic Cairo. As the glories of Cairo are refurbished, the past is portrayed, the voices of the residents of the old city are recorded, and their felt relationship with the great monuments like Bab Zuwayla is examined.

The creation of al-Azhar Park and the programmes of various organisations, including the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, for restoring historic monuments in the district of al-Darb al-Ahmar at the heart of the Historic City, and for reviving and improving the social and economic life of its inhabitants, are discussed and reviewed. Over 120 images illustrate life past and present in Cairo, restoration works and development initiatives.