In recent times, many urban areas and buildings
of architectural and historical
significance have suffered severe damage, including
destruction, degradation, and demolition of essential parts, due
primarily to the lack of awareness of their cultural values and
Faced with that situation, it has become necessary for legislators to intervene to maintain and restore the invaluable historical landmarks, to preserve their architectural and urban character, and to restore their cultural form.
It is a common misconception that legislators should only concentrate on building modern cities without giving attention to historical buildings, however, through the heritage conservation policy we protect integral cultural characteristics of our society, which showcase the deep history of Egyptian civilization for successive generations and is considered an evolutionary developmental move for society, geared towards creating a higher level of civilization.
With the above in mind, this would be of benefit to the state and the citizen simultaneously. On the one hand, such policies benefit the state by providing guidance on the economic exploitation of historical sites, by necessitating that such use is appropriate to the nature of the site in question, such as converting these buildings into historical landmarks or hotels, to attract tourism. On the other hand, it benefits the citizen by creating employment opportunities, which will in turn raises the national GDP level.
The legislator does not aim to intimidate citizens or limit their rights to construct buildings that are stylized in a historical manner or those who reside in older properties which could be considered historically significant since the common understanding is that any long-standing, distinct architectural building should be registered as a historical landmark.
Despite this, the Executive Regulations of Law no. 144 of 2006 sets out the standards and specifications for protected buildings, namely that they must hold historical significance such as an association with national events, or an influential historical figure, or hold the architectural or artistic value of art, or be buildings that are considered a popular tourist spot.
Following the above, the law requires the presence of two
combined criteria. Therefore, a building with a distinct
architectural character is not enough, it must be necessary
to link the architectural character to
national history or a historical figure, represent a
historical era, or be considered as
a touristic spot.
We refer below to one of the cases initiated by our office, in which the Supreme Administrative Court ruled in 2020 to annul the Prime Minister's decision for a building to be characterized as a historical landmark since two of the four aforementioned criteria specified by the Law were unfulfilled.
In conclusion, this article aims to shed light on the fact that not all old buildings which are stylized in a historical manner can qualify as historical landmarks that cannot be demolished.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.