Downtown Cairo – What Can Really Be Done

Downtown Cairo – What Can Really Be Done

A Dream in the heart of Cairo, Egypt – Ramsis Park.

Downtown Cairo has been the urban center of the city since late 19th century, when the district was designed and built. It was once home to the prosperous and elite of late 19th and early 20th century. Also, it is the home of both Egyptian parliaments, a number of government buildings, including judicial ministry and interior affairs, the American university’s old campus, Cairo Train Station (Ramsis Station) and Mogama’a El Tahrir government building situated in the notorious Tahrir Square lately known for being the iconic spot of the uprising in Egypt.  Yet, decades of neglect dimmed the glow of what downtown was and should be. With chaotic traffic, over population and uncontrolled commercial activities, it is really a mess!

Sixth of October bridge branching into downtown Cairo

Abd El Moniem Reyad Square

Ramsis square with Sixth of October bridge slicing its way through it

Ramsis Station

Under the wreckage of chaos a beam of hope unveils a great potential, Ramsis Park, a dream on the way of transforming Cairo’s heart to what it should be.  The transformation kicks off from Ramsis square and train station representing the central starting point of downtown.  This station has acted as the hub of transportation in and out of Cairo since 1856. The original railway station was built as the terminal of the first rail line in Egypt from Alexandria to Cairo. The current building was constructed in 1892, upgraded in 1955 and is currently undergoing another round of restorations.

Cairo (Ramsis) train station currently

One of the train lines inside the station

Downtown Cairo might be seeing a future upgrade to Ramsis Station to Ramsis Park, the green heart of Cairo. A sustainable city needs green. Located at the base of the Nile delta, Cairo has good soil for building parks. Important buildings around the current Ramsis square keep their position in or around Ramsis Park. This includes the railway station, the Everest hotel, the Lymoun tram station, the railway engineering building and Al Fateh mosque.

A part of the fly-over bridge through Ramsis square remains in place and takes on a new function. A 70 meter high panorama tower will be built centrally located in the park next to the existing road. The ensemble of buildings and functions has a harmonious look and feel. The development of Ramsis Park is the stepping stone for the developments of the surrounding area. On the West side of the park the business district expands with the new Ramsis Roundabout building as a starting point. On the other side of the park it focuses on combined functions and apartment areas.  From the panorama tower tourists and locals get stunning views over the city, with ancient, historical and modern architecture surrounding the park. In the background they see the pyramids.

Watch the Ramsis Park Video:

Imagine the new green Ramsis Park with its modern railway station, the electrical metro bus lines, the elevated Bridge road and the panorama tower from where the Pyramids are visible.

A project by:

MAISSA ARCHITECTURES Sarl, Libreville, Gabon

BLOK KATS VAN VEEN ARCHITECTS, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Location: Cairo, Egypt
Client: Cairo Governorate
Status: Concept design, unapproved proposal

This project was proposed in 2009. With the current reform Egypt is going through, ideas like these need to resurface.

[Sources: World Architecture, Archiworld]

Filed in: Urban World Tags: , ,

Share your thoughts

  • Aliaa Mounir

    Great energy in such a project. We wish that something like this would be infact do-able, not just too good to be true!

  • somaia


  • M. Seif

    As much as this proposal shows a good image of what downtown cairo could turn into, i think that it could focus more on shinning the city’s heritage and culture rather than modernizing it. Just saying.

    • Rashed

      I agree with your point of view concerning the maintenance of the city’s heritage, yet ideas like these would now serve the purpose of brain storming the potential of great cities like Cairo have

  • K.Shalash

    Great vision, very inspiring. But without a good, solid and fast subway infrastructure, it won’t make the desired traffic throttling. I am currently working in the construction of Cairo metro line 3, and with this working pace, I don’t think we will have such infrastructure soon. Let’s hope for some major and serious “Actions” soon.
    Again, very inspiring!!

    • Rashed

      I totally agree with your point, realistically a project like this would fail without supplying a very efficient commute in and out of downtown to the public. Just knowing that Cairo has that kind of potential gives great hope. Thanks for your feedback!

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  • Amir

    I’m not sure what you’d do with the 6th of October Bridge through the park. You said a part of the bridge would still be there but ‘take on another function.’ What does that mean? How would you re-route the bridge?

    • Rashed

      The designers proposal for the bridge was to be totally removed, as we know it now, the smaller ‘Ring Road’ would be the alternative for the missing link. Although they’ll keep part of the old bridge in place in the park to take on the new function.

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