Friday, June 29, 2007

Preserving heritage value

Al Ahram Weekly by Salah Zaki

Lately, due to rising public awareness of the need to protect urban heritage, the Ministry of Culture cooperated with the Ministry of Housing in issuing Law #144 / 2006, which regulates demolition licenses and the conservation of buildings and structures of heritage value. Egypt's prime minister promptly ordered governors to create a list of buildings of heritage value in every region in Egypt.

The initial function of the Committee for Buildings and Areas of Heritage Value, or Central Heritage Committee, was to help set the norms and standards that define buildings to be conserved in Egypt. The term "sites of heritage value" includes gardens, but does not include archaeological structures that are considered monuments and hence the responsibility of the Supreme Council for Antiquities. The committee started by writing a manual to be used by governorates and local committees in the selection procedure. The National Centre for Urban Amelioration has signed protocols of cooperation with many governorates in this regard.

The future task of the Central Heritage Committee will be to offer technical assistance to governorates, both in the area of listing heritage value buildings as well as in pilot projects for conservation.

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