Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Conference Examines Fez's UNESCO Listing

A conference this week is investigating whether the reality of the Fez Medina being on the UNESCO World Heritage list has matched expectations
Run by the Euromed University of Fez from October 2 - 5, the conference titled "Medina of Fez: Realities and Perspectives of the Registration on the World Heritage List" offers a host of expert speakers in the field of history, conservation and architecture.

They include Maria Gravari Barbas, Vice-President of International Relations at the University of Paris; historian Mohamed Mezzine, Mohamed Melyani, from the University of Amiens, Fez's own Fouad Serghini, the Director General of ADER and economist and novelist Naima Lahbil Tagemouati.

At the opening session on Monday, Mohamed Metalsi, Dean of Sciences and Humanities at the Euro-Mediterannean University of Fez, gave an insight into early efforts of conservation in the Fez Medina, and how that process had eventually led to the World Heritage listing.

"Ali Amahan, who was an anthropologist and the Minister of Culture and Communication in the 1970s, was frequently in conflict with the Habous, (the religious authority which owns many buildings in the Medina)," he said. "They wanted to renovate buildings so that they were low maintenance, whereas, he was trying to preserve the history of the buildings."

Fortunately, Amahan's vision eventually won the day. He was awarded the Agar Khan Prize for Architecture in 2001. Through his books and influence, the unique architectural and cultural heritage of the Medina of Fez became more widely recognised. World Heritage listing was gained in 1981.

The conference continues until Thursday.


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