Last Saturday Khazana School of Heritage celebrated their first anniversary by launching an event dedicated to wedding themes in Egypt in the 20th century.
The rooftop of house number 4 in Darb Al-Labana was decorated with traditional Khayamia, chains of light bulbs, and classic wooden chairs set in rows.
The other end of the roof was an exhibition of old wedding dresses, photo albums, traditional porcelain sweet box and even official marriage records dating back to late 19th century Egypt.
Welcome to Weddings of our Country is the latest intangible heritage event from Khazana.
Khazana school of heritage is founded by photographer, architect and heritage researcher Alia Nassar.
The idea came to her in 2021 with an aim to highlight the meaning of heritage and how it is very much alive and is not limited to old buildings, and also to teach people how to properly document their heritage.
Nassar has worked in documentation of intangible cultural heritage with the Egyptian folklore archive and the Egyptian association for saving heritage.
She is also one of the team of evaluators of the UNESCO nominated files requesting inscription in World Heritage List (Intangible Cultural Heritage), an ICCROM certified trainer on the subjects of risk management and first aid to cultural heritage, and a member of the Egyptian Heritage Rescue team.
"I started out with a partnership with Sard NGO and together we held a workshop for documentation of Shubra district's entertainment heritage and oral history in February 2022," Alia Nassar told Ahram Online.
"And the outcome was a map of the places where the people living in Shubra district used to go for entertainment," she added.
Khazana school of Heritage's name is derived from the Islamic architecture of houses that were usually designed to incorporate a built-in closet for valuables.
"This is the whole idea of Khazana: to teach people how to document their heritage and to make it accessible like a closet that is both easily opened and also a safe place for valuables," she noted.
Throughout this year, Khazana has kept busy with several online and offline interactive intangible heritage events, including series of talks on cinema and architecture, heritage of other countries as well as a heritage treasure hunt in Historic Cairo.
Khazana initiated a game heritage event at the Museum of Civilization where they launched a night of board games with Karama Association that reproduced Egypt's ancient board game Senet.
Their latest Event is the Weddings of Our Country's theme.
The event was held in collaboration with The AUC Rare books and special collection library where they shared rare 19th century marriage records in Egypt.
The event also included old photo collections by volunteers who shared their own personal oral history of the photos as well as some other collections.
House Number 4
The venue Khazana picked this time also had an interesting history to share.
The recently renovated early 20th century three story building was the family home of Azza Abdel-Aziz.
"This house belonged to my maternal grandma; it's where my mother was born, and it is also the premises of a mausoleum of a Sufi walli, Sheikh Al-Sharif Mahdi," said Abdel-Aziz, remembering how her grandma had been reluctant to live on top of a mausoleum and how she dreamt that the deceased walli was giving her his blessings.
Abdel-Aziz decided to renovate her grandmother's house and the mausoleum, and to share her oral history with Khazana.
"This is where I used to watch the Moulid El-Rifaai from my window, where cinnamon drinks were circulated in small cups," said Abdel-Aziz.