Egypt's Population Boom Threatens Cultural Treasures
Surging demand for housing and services puts historical sites at risk.
Within hours, much of the celebrated modernist mansion was in ruins; one of the great relics of the Mediterranean city's cosmopolitan heyday had been toppled to make way for an apartment tower.
The villa's owner, Mohammed Hosni Hamed, was unmoved by howls of outrage from conservationists.
"If it were illegal, we wouldn't have done it [in plain sight] during the daytime," he told the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper.
Egypt's cultural heritage has emerged as a key casualty of its fast-growing population's demand for housing.
The Pyramids at Giza were once isolated in the open desert, but they're now surrounded on three sides by Cairo's encroaching sprawl and an illegal cemetery.
Nearby mango plantations have been ripped up to make way for new buildings, according to