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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Mogamma Gets a Facelift

Cairo is a traffic nightmare - but the government thinks it may have discovered at least part of the problem.  There are just too many people headed downtown to the Mogamma to do government business!  With fourteen floors of bureaucrats (Wikipedia estimates up to 30,000 of them) and who knows how many people waiting in line, this can easily be an agonizing experience for the visitor.

An article in the Washington Post published in 2005 began with this sentence:
If buildings could talk, the Mugamma,  downtown Cairo's hulking government office complex, would say, "Come back tomorrow," with a sneer.
In a move to remake Tahrir Square into a prime tourist destination, the government is moving an obelisk in and moving the bureaucrats out.  The obelisk, moved from Tanis (which we visited last year) is not quite ready for the great reveal - it sits beneath a protective shroud.  But the busiest bureaucrats in the Mogamma have already been moved.
… in mid-2019, when the Passports, Immigration and Nationality Administration, which occupied 215 offices in the first and second floors, and used to attract more than %75 of citizens going to the Mogamma, was moved to its new grounds at Al Abbassia.
 I've blogged about the Mogamma several times previously, most notably our visit on January 26, 2011 as the Egyptian revolution was beginning.

Amid talk or repurposing this monolith in some fashion, the Mogamma is at least getting a facelift.

Here is an older picture of the building

And, with the painters still at work on the lower levels, here is an up-to-date view.  Note the small but colorful accents added in addition to an overall brighter look.

Update, 3/15/2020:
I thought that I didn't have a picture of the obelisk under its shroud, but I found one.  Not a great picture but it shows the construction in progress.

Here is another picture of the obelisk with the Mogamma and the obelisk back in Tanis.
Obelisk-1   TanisObilesk-1

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