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Heliopolis Anniversary Week Celebrates 117 Years of Culture

In honour of its 117th anniversary, the Heliopolis Heritage Foundation is putting on a series of events to highlight the neighbourhood's cultural impact.

A place of rich history and cultural significance, Heliopolis has always been a distinguished site in the eyes of Egyptians. It’s a source of pride for many of its visitors as well as the wealthy families, politicians, and celebrities who now reside there and for good reason. Thanks to its unique and prominent infrastructure, the district has enamoured many people to its heritage and decades of architectural artistry that has shaped it to the beauty that it is today.

In honour of the neighbourhood’s 117th anniversary, the Heliopolis Heritage Foundation has partnered with a variety of entities such as The Palace, Cairo Runners, Vintage Wheels and UNESCO, amongst others to help bring the community together with an annual event. Dubbed ‘Heliopolis Anniversary Week’, the event will be divided into activities to commemorate local tradition and heritage until May 28th.

Heliopolis Anniversary Week began on May 20th with the Cairo Half Marathon, which set off at Merryland Park with thousands of participants. Later that day, the Odyssey art gallery hosted a series of exhibits that showcase Heliopolis’ architectural designs and cultural landmarks, which included watercolour paintings and memorabilia of souvenirs. On May 21st, Odyssey also launched a Heritage Walk Tour, where a guide led groups on a neighbourhood tour.  

“Heliopolis is a unique platform for us. We’re proud to be part of that neighbourhood,” Seif Elashkar, event director at Heliopolis Heritage Foundation, tells SceneTraveller. “The aim is to save the heritage of Heliopolis and improve its quality of life.”

Live performances will take place throughout the week at various Heliopolis restaurants, although pre-booking will be required for each one. Los Compadres will be strutting their stuff at Ox restaurant on May 24th. Surprise live performances will follow at  the Smokery on May 25th and Sachi on May 26th, before Ihab Shawy goes live at El Barrio on May 27th.

“There is also the Heliopolis Heritage Photography Competition that’s been held annually for four seasons, with the last edition taking place in 2018,” Elashkar continues. “During the week, a compilation of the last four editions will be shown at the 3rd Line Metro Stations: Koleyet El-Banat, Al Ahram, Haron, and Heliopolis, and passengers will vote on the best picture.”

Things wrap up on Saturday, May 28th, where anyone who missed the Heritage Walking Tour from Odyssey will have their chance once more, alongside a sketching tour. Pre-booking is required for both. The event will come to a close at the beautifully restored Baron Empain Palace itself, where a sketching workshop will take place at the gardens, followed by a vintage and classic car show set alongside a string of live performances, all for the love of Heliopolis.