It seems the governor of Luxor is continuing with his radical replanning and 'development' of the city. This time he plans on removing the 75 year old garden of the Chicago House, along with other gardens along the east bank corniche in order to widen the asphalt road and create a 4 km touristic zone along the waterfront! This man is completely infatuated with cheasy touristic bazaars. His ideology (if he has one) is one that only caters to tourists (most of whom are probably less likely to come back to Luxor following all these tacky transformations) and one that lacks any regard to history, authenticity, aesthetics or anything nice for that matter. Here are parts of a message I received through EEF (Egyptologists' Electronic Forum):
It has come to our attention that a new development program is about to be launched in Luxor by the Government of Egypt that focuses on the east bank Corniche Boulevard. The goal is to double the width of the Corniche to alleviate traffic congestion, create a pedestrian walkway along the Nile, and establish a four-kilometer touristic zone along the riverfront between Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple.
It is hoped that the Luxor City authorities will reject this unecessarily extreme plan for a less radical approach that is also being discussed. Building the riverbank outward would allow room for a widened Corniche but still preserve the buildings and gardens presently along the Nile that give Luxor so much of its charm and character.
Slated for removal are several older gardens: one part of a military club, one in front of a mosque, and another in the front of a Coptic Catholic rest house. The historic Chicago House garden in particular would be a terrible loss. Over 75 years old, its 24-meter palm trees and dozens of trees and flowering bushes were donated as cuttings from the botanical gardens of Cairo and Aswan in the 1930s, and are unique in Luxor. Two rows of royal palms along the front walk imitate the 14 open papyrus columns of the great Colonnade Hall of Luxor Temple, and symbolize the archaeological preservation work this institution has accomplished in partnership with Egypt for over 84 years.
Workers dismantling an old house in Luxor