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Cairo is home to some of the most famous shanty towns and slums in the world. The
shanty town in the City of the Dead is home to 800,000 people and stretches for four
miles from the north to the south of Cairo. The area is unique as it is a gigantic cemetery
where many people decide to live and work, often to be among their ancestors, or if not,
due to immigration into Cairo in the 1960s. In Cairo, this area is known as `el'arafa' which
means simply `the cemetery'.
The City of the Dead is the 18th largest slum in the world but is unique in its historical and
architectural value. Unlike in many slums and shanty towns, dwellings are not too badly
overcrowded and many of the areas are logically laid out.
However, the rest of Cairo considers the dwellings here a stain on the capital city and
many of the areas have been bulldozed to make way for more impressive developments.
There is also a high rate of crime in the City of the Dead, in contradiction to many other
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that sets the City of the Dead aside is the fact that people have lived in the area since the
14th Century, making the slum very old compared to the more modern shanty towns.
Many people live illegally in the tombs, funeral chapels and mortuary chambers that were
originally built to accommodate the dead.
The main religion in this area is Islam although a
minority is of Christian origin.…read more
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The City of the Dead is the most visited slum in the world. The historical and religious
aspects to the city make the many mosques and tombs `worth seeing'. However, the
close community makes it difficult for outsiders to penetrate the culture.
Urbanisation is a serious issue in the City of the Dead. As well as living in tombs, many
newcomers erect `temporary' buildings constructed mainly of canvas and scrap materials.…read more