A New Capital for Egypt

A Pharaonic Project


With its population of 82 million, Egypt is not only the oldest country in the world, but the main cultural reference for its neighbors, and until the Arab Spring also an oasis of apparent calm in the powder keg that the Middle East is. Now that the nation of the Nile is going through serious political and economic problems, the economies of the Gulf – in brotherhood with Egypt through their Sunni confession – have come to its aid with a rain of petrodollars – some 12,000 million – that will serve to prop up its unstable government in the short run. A fruit of these investments, which are of course nowhere near altruistic, is the announcement of a project long desired by the Egyptian authorities: the construction of a new administrative and financial capital, ending the nightmare of moving around Cairo, a chaotic megalopolis of 18 million inhabitants which forecasts say will double between now and the year 2050. Located in the middle of the desert, some 45 kilometers from Cairo, along the route that leads to the Suez Canal, Egypt’s other great strategical hub, The Capital Cairo will cost about 45,000 million dollars to build, will take up an area of 700 square kilometers, and will accommodate some 7 million residents in a scheme that draws inspiration from cities of the Mediterranean and will be equipped with large public facilities including “the largest city park system in the world,” a theme park “four times bigger than Disneyland,” and a new airport. The masterplan of this pharaonic project, about which very little information has so far been released, has been commissioned to the United States firm SOM.

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