Egypt’s Cairo has been attracting tourists for its beautiful water boat houses for decades. The houseboat offers residents a view of the gorgeous Nile River and other features like water taxis, anglers, sport rowers and ducks. However now, all these are coming to an end. The Egyptian government has ordered to remove the floating homes from the banks of the River Nile. This order has been criticised as it endangers the city’s heritage.
According to officials, these houseboats are being removed or renovated to develop the waterfront commercially. However, the government is yet to release a detailed plan of action. With this move, people will not only their home but their livelihood too.
These houseboats have been a part of Cairo tradition since the 1800s. As per reports, Ahdaf Soueif, a prize-winning Egyptian novelist who shifted from the United Kingdom to Egypt 10 years ago, had renovated and bought her houseboat, said,” The point is that they really, really don’t seem to understand that there are value – intangible values – there is value in history.”
It is not just the houseboats that are being removed, other historic traditions of Cairo, including an ancient cemetery and historic gardens, are also in this hot soup of renovation. This move has brought in concern regarding its infrastructure and renovation plans.
These houseboats are located along the riverside of Imbaba and Kit-Kat which are working-class areas. These are located opposite to the residential island of Zamalek. In June, residents of 30 houseboats had to evacuate within 20 days.