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Workers perched on scaffolding delicately repair Cairo's 13th-century Al-Zahir Baybars mosque, a vital restoration project in the Egyptian capital's neglected Islamic quarter.On the other side of the quarter, similar work on the 14th-century Al-Maridani mosque has just begun.The capital's Islamic quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 often referred to as historic Cairo, boasts some 600 listed monuments. The urban fabric of Islamic Cairo is layered in centuries of history packed with ornate monuments, mosques and mausoleums, its narrow streets punctuated with trinket shops, cafes as well as traditional old homes.Part of the Aga Khan Foundation founded by the head of Ismaili Islam, the faith of the Shiite Fatimid caliphate (909-1171), the North African dynasty that based itself in Egypt after 969 his outfit has been working on restoration projects in the area since the early 2000s.The Antiquities Ministry is fed by revenues generated at Egypt's wealth of historic monuments. While tourism has picked up since it dropped in 2011, the 8.2 million people that visited Egypt in 2017 are still far behind the country's 14.7 million visitors in the year before the foiled revolution.
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