Efforts to maintain urban heritage in Asir under way

Arab news: Anna Klingmann, Architecture Department chairperson at Dar Al-Hekma University, recently made a presentation on a program being implemented to revive and maintain urban heritage in Asir region.
Klingmann, a German engineer working with the university, paid a visit to Asir region and its numerous heritage buildings and villages at Sarat Obaida, Al-Yanfaa and other landmarks in Abha, Al-Akkas and Al-Mkhadh on Alsoudah road.
Saad bin Thaqfan, head of planning at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) branch in Asir said the program will precede the renovation of the buildings, and aims to gain the approval and sympathy of the local community members for homes they left more than two decades ago.
“It is a sincere invitation for the previous residents to see how attractive the area is, not only in terms of the good weather and the landscape, but also because of the rich architectural and urban heritage where buildings are made of local construction materials such as mud and stones,” he added. “They may event want to return to their original homes once they are renovated,” he said.
As part of the program, experts from the USA, France and Germany will participate alongside the Asir residents in events such as Light and Sound shows, local activities that stem from these villages and visit the historic buildings.
All events will be photographed and documented in a book and video, the latter to be featured on TV channels and social networking sites according to long and short term plans. The events and activities are expected to continue throughout the year.
Klingmann confirmed that she has a passion for heritage, and when she saw old photos of the buildings and the unique architectural style of the heritage buildings she immediately fell in love with them. She said her initiative aims to maintain heritage for future generations, and put Asir region on the map of leading cities which have preserved and maintained their traditions, heritage and history using technology, media and art.
“We can benefit from American and European artists and architects and be inspired by their heritage techniques. The challenge is how to reinvent heritage with innovated techniques to link the past with the future and vice versa,” she said.

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