In 1984, His Highness the Aga Khan announced his decision to finance the creation of a park for the citizens of the Egyptian capital. The only central location that was of suitable scale was the derelict Darassa site, a 30-hectare (74-acre) mound of rubble that had been a debris dump for 500 years. Al-Azhar Park, undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, has since proven to be both a popular open space for the people of Cairo and a powerful catalyst for urban renewal in the neighbouring district of Darb al-Ahmar -- once one of the poorest districts in Cairo.
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