Cairo: Hundreds of Egyptians and foreigners on Friday thronged historic Cairo to watch a colourful parade of participants from around the world in a major Egyptian festival for drums.
Clad in their traditional costumes, artists from countries as far as Ecuador and China enthralled the audience with their performances in the Moez Street, an old thoroughfare located near two historic gates of medieval Cairo.
The pedestrian-only route is famous for historic structures dating to the medieval times, earning it the epithet of an open-air museum.
Friday’s performances were part of the International Festival for Drums and Traditional Arts, an annual event that debuted in Egypt five years ago.
This year’s edition, running in Cairo until April 26, is being held under the motto “Drums Dialogue for Peace”. The event will move to Egypt’s world-famed city of Luxor on April 27 for three-day performances.
Thirty traditional groups are participating in the festival with Ecuador being the guest of honour this year.
The event comes more than a week after suicide attacks at two Egyptian churches killed 46 people, prompting authorities to declare a nationwide state of emergency.
“Holding this festival reflects real determination by Egyptian people and the Egyptian state institutions to go ahead with a safe life,” Egyptian Minister of Culture Helmy Al Namnam said.
“We will not allow any terrorist or force of darkness to spoil our life,” he added at the opening ceremony of the festival.
“God has created us in order to live life and stand firm against advocates of death.”
The festival also features an exhibition of the participating countries’ traditional products at the historic Saladin Citadel in Cairo.
A government plan was announced on the sidelines of the festival to revive traditional crafts for which medieval Cairo was once known.
“This round of the festival is aimed at promoting links among people of the world through the dialogue of drums,” Intisar Abdul Fattah, the founder of the event, said at the opening ceremony.
“More than 30 troupes representing different cultures of the world have come to Egypt to showcase their creativity in a fantastic inter-civilisation dialogue,” he added.
Egyptian officials hope that such events will prop up the tourism industry, a main source of the national income, which has been hard hit by political unrest that followed the 2011 uprising and a spate of terrorist attacks in the country.