In a vast stretch of desert east of Cairo, a place never before troubled by human hands, 36 hulking structures are rising from the sand. 

Construction workers weave through scaffolding around the imposing grey buildings while policemen in balaclavas with assault rifles stand watch. A cold wind whips through the enormous construction site.  

The buildings will be government ministries under Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s plan to build a new administrative capital city 28 miles outside Cairo. 

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Standing at the base of what will be the petroleum ministry, an enthusiastic spokesman says that by the end of next year the entire Egyptian government will be operating from this site. 

But even…

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