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Visitors take photos of a screening about the royal mummies at the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation. Twenty-two mummies were transported through central Cairo to the museum last April.

Visitors take photos of a screening about the royal mummies at the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation. Twenty-two mummies were transported through central Cairo to the museum last April.

Photographer: Jonathan Rashad/Getty Images 

CityLab
Culture

How Cairo’s Revival Blends Ancient Egypt With Modern Tastes

Egypt’s capital is tapping into its cultural heritage as part of the city’s biggest makeover in decades.

When Egyptian ballerina Amie Sultan decided to go into belly dancing, she raised eyebrows among her friends and fellow professionals. Why switch from an art form that’s highly respected to one that’s often scorned in her home country and the rest of the Arab world?

Six years later, Sultan wants to elevate a dance focused on shaking hips and torsos in low-end cabarets to the theater. It’s just one of the ways Egyptians are trying to establish a contemporary cultural identity in Cairo that taps into their heritage.