Bummer Alert: Cairo’s Cool Art Spot, Darb 1718, Got Bulldozed

Cool Art Spot. So, guess what? Darb 1718, this rad contemporary arts center in Cairo, got totally wrecked on January 6. They spilled the tea on Instagram, saying they’re seriously bum and tick off about the demolition. The place was a historic gem, a creative haven for all sorts of artists, and it went down without a heads-up or any compensation.

No Heads-up, No Cash: Demolition Drama

According to the higher-ups, they had to smash the building to make room for a wider highway. Cairo’s been going through this mega makeover, with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi going all-in to upgrade the city and drop a whopping $59 billion on a brand-new capital in the desert. They’ve been busy building roads, tunnels, and bridges like there’s no tomorrow. But here’s the catch – whole neighborhoods, landmarks, and apparently, art centers are getting wiped off the map.

Darb 1718’s Tough Luck in the Urban Jungle

The mess for Darb 1718 started back in August when they started knocking down buildings in the ancient Fustat area, where traditional craftspeople were chilling. Moataz Nasreldin, the brains behind Darb 1718, spilled the beans to the New York Times, saying the government told him they were making room for a fancy highway. Fast forward to September, and the officials kicked everyone out, slamming the door on the space.

From Artsy Oasis to Rubble: The Demise of Darb 1718

Imagine this – for 16 years, Darb 1718 was THE spot in Cairo. It was the OG cultural hub, throwing art shows, concerts, and workshops. The name itself was a nod to the “bread riots” of ’77, going down on January 17 and 18. But now? It’s gone.

Artistic Wipeout and Some Unusual Shade

In a wild twist, Nasreldin spilled the beans on a talk show hosted by Lamis Elhadidy, a big-shot Egyptian TV host. He spilled that the wrecking balls didn’t just take down the building; they trashed artworks by 150 foreign artists worth millions. That’s a punch in the gut.

What’s wilder? Elhadidy, who’s usually got the government’s back, dropped some rare criticism on the Sisi regime. She straight-up said, “We hate our history and our old Cairo. We want a city that will be nothing but roads, asphalt, bridges.”

The demolition of Darb 1718 isn’t just about losing a cool art spot. It’s shining a big ol’ spotlight on how rapid development can bulldoze cultural gems and mess with a city’s identity. It’s like, can’t we have both – a modern city and keep the cool historical stuff too?