El Sawy Culture Wheel
El Sawy Culture Wheel (Arabic: ساقية الصاوى) (transliterated: Sakkiat Al-Sawy) is an all-purpose, private cultural center, located on Gezira Island in the Zamalek district, central Cairo, Egypt. Named after its sole founder and owner, Abdelmoniem El-Sawy, it is considered one of the most important cultural venues in Egypt. According to Al Jazeera, the center gets more than 20000 visitors monthly and its website receives approximately 150000 visitors/month.
El Sawy Culture Wheel was established in 2003 by Mohamed El-Sawy. Prior to its construction, its location, beneath the 15th May Bridge in Zamalek, was a garbage dump and a shelter for homeless people and drug addicts. El-Sawy named his center in honor of his father's — Abdel Moneim El-Sawy, an Egyptian novelist and a former minister of culture — five-part novel series: "El-Sakkia" or (The Wheel).
Locations and hallsEdit
As of April 2009, El Sawy culturewheel has 3 branches: the main branch in Zamalek, a branch in Algeel Algadeed school, and a temporary branch in Qena. The main branch has 8 halls: Wisdom hall, River hall, Earth hall, Word halls 1 and 2, Garden Hall, El Naseeb and Bostan El Nil. The permanent premises in Qena is scheduled for opening in Ramadan, 2009.
The center is home for a wide range of activities and cultural events. Every year, it chooses a main theme for most of its events, the 2009 theme is "dignity", through which it aims to abolish some social problems, such as begging. The center has organized hundreds of concerts and musical events, including those for oud, jazz, musical theatre, children chorus and performances for several Egyptian and Arab bands, singers and entertainers. It also hosts several seminars, workshops, art exhibitions, book fairs and movie shows.
Being the first non-government controlled private cultural center in Egypt, its events are claimed to have more freedom and higher quality than those in government-controlled centers. In addition, it organizes a number of conferences and festivals, including an annual theatre festival, the "Sakkia animated film festival", El Sawy culture wheel festival for documentaries, and the El Sakkia conference for Arabic language and Poet Laureate Ahmed Shawqi. The Sawy also includes several sections for arts and music training and a number of libraries, including a music library and children's library. and it offers several art classes in painting, sculpture, piano and violin for children and youth.
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