Egypt’s most sustainable and iconic village finishes the first phase of it’s development and restoration
The village is set to be enlisted as UNESCO tangible heritage
On December 23rd the new Gourna’s inauguration took place in the presence of Egypt’s Inas Abdel Daym – minister of culture, Mostafa Elham – Luxor Governor, Leaders of UNESCO, the development team in addition to the delegations from the ministry of culture and Luxor governorate.
The opening of the village comes as a milestone for the Egyptian government to protect the country’s heritage. The renovations and the developments are currently in full swing inside the village, which raised the operational efficiency of the historical buildings inside the village including the caravanserai, mosque, theater, and culture palace.
“Since its construction 70 years ago, the village suffered from several problems. The village must be restored, as it’s a landmark registered on the architectural heritage list of the national organization for Urban Harmony” Abu Saada – head of the national organization for the Urban Harmony said.
The village designed by Hassan Fathy, therefore it’s revival considered a global event. “This one of a kind architectural landmark will be restored and developed in cooperation with UNESCO, so Egypt remains a source of art and creativity” Dr. Ines – culture minister, said in her keynote speech at the opening of the village.
The Architectec behind the original new gourna village
The village belongs to the world-known artist and engineer Hassan Fathy. Fathy is the founder of the modest vernacular architecture school in Egypt and the world. The New Gourna gained its worldwide huge fame following the “Architecture for the Poor” book in which Fathy describes his model of vernacular sustainable architecture using simple materials.
“For me, the Gourna is an experience and an example at the same time” Fathy wrote hoping his village would become a model to reconstruct the Egyptian countryside.
Fathy started the construction of the village of New Gourna in 1945 to house around 20,000 inhabitants as the residents of the original Gourna lived over the Thebes cemetery. They were living on top the Pharaonic tombs . When the government realized, they decided that the only way to preserve the site was by relocating the residents. therefore, they granted Hassan Fathy the construction of New Gourna
The New Gourna remain Fathy’s grandest achievement, as the urban planning he implemented into the village in 1946 is considered years ahead of it’s time when urban planning was only a crossing of different streets in a regular network. Fathy has reintroduced the original look of the Egyptian villages with all the composition and visual elements which is evident in the various aspect throughout the village. Fathy also studied and introduced the path of the sun to create shaded areas in the hot sunny environment of Egypt. He also studied the wind direction to maintain a nice refreshing breeze through the village streets and houses.