It’s a wonder some of these places are still occupied.

Manuel Alvarez Diestro

Alexandria’s busy El-Gaish Road has a fantastic view of the Mediterranean, but looking the other way is just as rewarding. Lining the coast are hulking towers that obviously were grand in their day, but now have fallen into massive disrepair—architectural husks, decaying into rust and blackened plaster in the warm seaside breeze.

London’s Manuel Alvarez Diestro traveled to Egypt’s second-largest city to walk El-Gaish and document its crumbling facades. “Most of the building towers are second residences for Egyptians and are occupied during the summer in the overpopulated city,” emails the 43-year-old photographer. “All the buildings are placed in an idyllic location overlooking the vast blue sea.”

If you peer closely you can spot a person or two, but most indications of ongoing habitation come from laundry and rugs hanging on balconies and dirty satellite dishes. In some cases the structural integrity is so degraded you wonder how long these relics have in this world. “Alexandria’s urban fabric requires a continuous upgrade,” Alvarez Diestro says, “as many buildings are at the verge of collapse.”

Have a look at the series, and be sure to check out the photographer’s work with Cairo’s rooftop huts for racing pigeons and the humongous housing projects Egypt is putting in the desert.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: a wallet full of Yen bills.
    Life

    Japan’s Lost-and-Found System Is Insanely Good

    If you misplace your phone or wallet in Tokyo, chances are very good that you’ll get it back. Here’s why.

  2. Design

    How We Map Epidemics

    Cartographers are mapping the coronavirus in more sophisticated ways than past epidemics. But visualizing outbreaks dates back to cholera and yellow fever.

  3. photo: Masdar City in Abu Dhabi
    Environment

    What Abu Dhabi’s City of the Future Looks Like Now

    At the UN’s World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, attendees toured Masdar City, the master-planned eco-complex designed to show off the UAE’s commitment to sustainability.

  4. photo: An elderly resident of a village in Japan's Gunma Prefecture.
    Life

    In Japan’s Vanishing Rural Towns, Newcomers Are Wanted

    Facing declining birthrates and rural depopulation, hundreds of “marginal villages” could vanish in a few decades. But some small towns are fighting back.

  5. Passengers line up for a bullet train at a platform in Tokyo Station.
    Transportation

    The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations

    The nation’s famed mastery of rail travel has been aided by some subtle behavioral tricks.

×