In their more glamorous days, they played host to some of the city’s most important political and cultural chapters. But that is coming to an end, as authorities move to demolish or tow away what remains of these relics, and residents scurry to pack their belongings.
The owners have been told that Monday is the last day they will be able to take their belongings, before the authorities move in. Some still refuse to leave the only places they have called home, while others have already seen their houseboats destroyed or taken away.
Ebtessam Amin Afifi, 78, is one of them; her home was towed away late last month. She is now staying temporarily at her sister’s house, but has not given up.
In recent years, Cairo’s neighbourhoods have witnessed sweeping makeovers as the government embarks on infrastructure and development projects. Countless bridges, highways, museums and even a new capital city have been constructed, affecting citizens along the way, and uprooting distinct features of one of the oldest cities of Africa and the Middle East.