a Valley


My father took us in a car ride to see our new home. When I stepped out and told him that all I saw was a desert, he told us how each piece of land will be a house. How each line will be a street.
“A city will grow right here.”


2017 - present

This is a search for a disappearing valley that I have been tracing since 2017 in Eastern Desert of Cairo

There Was a Valley Here Once is a reminiscence of how our cities once looked like in a distant past. Hidden in layers, sometimes history will reveal itself to you as a reminder, and a witness of how fast millenniums and epochs of slow breaths will change into a memory.

Our relationship with landscapes has evolved. For a long time, they imposed their presence on us and our cultures. Our histories and folklore music are full of mountains we took refuge in. Hills we built houses on top of. Canyons we trekked through. Deserts that loomed over ourishing banks of the Nile river. Valleys whose tracks we followed back home.

What has changed only few decades ago?

What allowed within four years an entire city emerge on top of a valley that once fed a river along its tributaries?

For more of this story, reach out to mahmoudm(dot)khattab at gmail

I am becoming
more assuring of my
They are knocking
on the night doors of a hill
that I’ve known

to let everyone there know
I’m here, alone
before it’s gone