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It was a symbol of a more liberal Egypt where young Muslims and Christians mingled under its leafy canopies, bands played and a young Omar Sharif wooed the glamorous Faten Hamama in the classic film romance "The River of Love". A rare oasis in a metropolis home to eight million people, Merryland park offered respite from Cairo's dusty, traffic-choked cacophony. The park is now run-down and a victim of Egypt's myriad of political upheavals.Nasser returned from a trip to the United States and decided that Cairo should take its place among the great cities of the world by having a park worthy of its size.The 50-acre Merryland park was inaugurated in 1963, an event Iman Farrag, a social scientist, still remembers. The park became a cultural mainstay in the capital, fittingly for a city that had become the cinematic and musical capital of the Arab world.Saleh Abdel Magid, a retired army general, married in the park in 1978 .
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