The government of Egypt has signed a deal with France to restore the 150-year-old Eiffel bridge inside Cairo’s Giza Zoo. Agriculture ministry spokesman Mohamed El-Karsh confirmed the report and said the restoring the bridge is an important agenda for the government as it possesses construction blueprints.
The bridge was designed by Gustave Eiffel between 1875-1879, over a decade before the construction of the French tower. Gustave Eiffel also designed the world-famous Eiffel Tower.
The 275m-long structure was commissioned in the 1890s by the French-educated bureaucrats of the Egyptian department of public works who were determined to block Britain’s influence. The iron suspension bridge was designed to be the highest point in the garden in order to allow its visitors to witness the entirety of the zoo and its rare plants.
The bridge has two entrances which are closed by two large iron gates on both sides. Above each gate, there is a logo picturing Khedive Ismail, topped by the royal crown. The bridge has however been closed since the 1990s due to battles between conservationists and property developers.
The battles began with a white paper suggesting demolition to make way for an extension of a flyover. Conservationists accused officials of corruption and siding with rich developers at the expense of the nation’s heritage. This affected navigation in the Nile badly. According to the ministry, it is scheduled to reopen to public once renovations work is completed, allowing visitors to enjoy a panoramic view of the garden at Giza Zoo.