Al-Darb al-Ahmar was once the centre of powerful Mamluks and craftmanship. After decades of being overshadowed, it's the subject of a new tour, where golf carts are driven through its narrow alleys.
Among Cairo’s many historic neighbourhoods, al-Darb al-Ahmar is home to a distinct architectural heritage dating back to the 14th century, when Sultan al-Nasir Muhammed encouraged his Mamluk elites to build their settlements near the Citadel that served as the seat of Cairo’s power. It was centuries later that it received its gorey name - ‘The Red Street’ - when Muhammed Ali Pasha deceived the Mamluks into thinking they managed to enter and seize the city in 1805, only to be trapped and massacred, causing the streets to run red with blood.
It remained a centre of craftsmanship until recent years, when industrialization and damage from the 1992 Cairo earthquake shook the neighbourhood to its core. Now Cairo is giving it the attention it deserves.
Al-Darb al-Ahmar recently got a full makeover thanks to the urban rehabilitation and monument restoration efforts of Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). Working avidly to boost tourism and raise awareness of one of Cairo’s most historically rich areas, ‘Al-Darb al-Ahmar Touristic Route’ offers visitors a seat on one of their many golf carts so they can ride through the narrow alleyways and gain an up-close and personal look at its medieval heritage. Same vibe as a segway tour, but much more comfortable.
Part of the European Union-funded programme ‘Creating access to Cairo's Islamic Cultural Heritage’, this guided tour will take you down a special route, where you’ll be able to visit 16 of the most awe-inspiring mosques, schools and complexes from the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk eras, as well a 700-year old handicraft market.
To book this tour call (+2) 01093771222.