Egypt’s new capital: A combination of past and future made in China

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© AFP

Wedian may be the name of Egypt’s new administrative capital that’s being built by a famous architectural consortium from China. The name, which seems closer to Chinese than Arabic, means “troughs,” description that refers to the topography where this city is located that’s making everyone dream about a new version of the silk road.

 

So, a sort of countdown started in 2015 for a new departure from Egypt, as Cairo cannot compensate anymore the needs of a big city. While at the same time there’s a restoration project for the historic Cairo (HCRP), the same is focused -as its name suggests- only on the reconstruction of the historical area and the restoration of its monuments, but not on the renovation of the city per se.

 

Developed in the middle of the desert, between Cairo and the Suez Canal, Egypt’s new administrative capital will begin operations -according to foreign press reports- in the following months. The prime minister and sixty thousand officials prepare to settle there, along with the full government, embassies, international agencies, and the wealthy.

 

The presence of the past in the future

The project led by China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd. (CSCEC), along with developers from the army, has been working at a fast pace lately since Egypt’s Head of State, Marshal Al Sisi, is eager to fulfill his promise to renew the face of this millennial country.

 

The master plan entrusted to CSCEC is to create a global city with a smart infrastructure that shows the world a modern face of mythical Egypt. But that doesn’t mean that this new city will disconnect from its historical and cultural past because the same will even include historical monuments that speak of the past amid the future.

 

© New Compound

 

The opening of the Museum of the New Administrative Capital is scheduled for 2021, along with the inauguration of the Great Egyptian Museum, in Giza. About to be completed, the museum has 8,500 square meters of exhibitions and two obelisks –from San Hajar– as a gate, which will be surrounded by lotus and papyrus flowers. All in clear reminiscence of the past.

 

The museum will also house heritage treasures that will tell the visitor everything about the Pharaonic splendor to the time of Greco-Roman rulership, without forgetting the Islamic, Ottoman and Coptic influences. Also, it has been said that the recently found cemetery of King Toto was brought from Sohag to be included as well.

 

The idea behind the whole project is to include the name of this new city (Wedian) among the trendiest Egyptian capitals (Memphis, Thebes, Amarna, Alexandria, and Cairo). Likewise, the project aims to turn this city into the capital of the new millennium of the Arab world, just as Beirut, Damascus and Baghdad once were.

 

 

Mysteries  unveiled

So far it seems likely that Egypt’s new administrative capital will have close to 700 square km divided into two parts. The first, of approximately 170 square kilometers, will house ministries, residential areas, a neighborhood for diplomatic staff, and a financial district.

 

Currently, the project has built a large mosque, a Coptic cathedral, a hotel, and a conference center. The business district contemplated in the first stage of this project is almost finished, which is formed by 20 skyscrapers, including the tallest in Africa, which has a height of about 385 meters.

 

Additionally, it was reported that Egypt’s new capital will include a functional road network that’ll effectively provide accessibility within the city and in connection with other surrounding cities as well. It is estimated that the city will have more than 10,000 km in streets and arterial roads.

 

The project has left nothing to chance. So, Egypt’s new capital will have 12 settlements (valleys) that based on its topography will create a very particular urban geography. Each valley will have a residential area dedicated to a specific economic sector (low, middle, and high). And they will all have green areas, recreational areas, schools, shops, and hospitals.

 

The cost of building Egypt’s new capital is estimated at $58 billion. The Egyptian government seeks to place the new capital on the map of the world’s most modern cities, and as you can imagine, this project is considered one of the most important national projects in recent years.

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