Comité de Conservation des Monuments de l'Art Arabe
Khedive Tawfiq founded an agency in December 1881 called the Comité de Conservation des Sites de l'Art Arabe (English: Committee for the Conservation of the Monuments of Arab Art) to oversee the preservation of Islamic and Coptic monuments in Egypt. Although it belonged to the Ministry of Charitable Endowments in Egypt, it is frequently referred to by its French name.
Under the rule of Muhammad Ali and his successors, who attempted to modernize Egypt through projects like the construction of new areas of Cairo that followed a European model, the medieval Cairo had begun to be neglected and occasionally destroyed over the course of the 19th century. This led to the establishment of the Comité, which was partly in response to this trend. Arthur Rhoné and Gabriel Charmes, two French archaeology enthusiasts, had contributed to raising awareness of the situation in France and putting pressure on the Khedive.
Two subcommittees or commissions were given by the Comité the responsibility of indexing all Islamic or Coptic monuments in Egypt, determining which ones need maintenance, and recommending a plan of action. The monument's present state as well as its architectural or artistic merit were taken into consideration when making decisions. Strict preservation to extensive repair of a single monument were among the strategies used. The vast majority of cases entailed strict preservation, which involved strengthening, cleaning, or repairing already-existing buildings, whereas restoration involved partially or fully reconstructing a monument so that it could once again serve the community (as a mosque, for example). There are still numerous examples of these Comité reconstructions across Cairo.
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