• Opinion
  • 05:40 - 14 October 2017

Old buildings in NablusOur heritage is being destroyed by investors

Gaza,(DRAH.ps)-- When the language of money speaks, many considerations become absent, and many slogans get neglected, so do convictions and ideas, which get completely ignored. This is what is happening now as the phenomenon of demolition of old buildings in the city of Nablus is expanding, to be replaced by commercial projects.

 Recently, the demolition of many old buildings, which have a special symbolism, took place in the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank, just as what happened to Al-Assi Cinema a few months ago, and the Louhaz Abdel Hadi Palace, known for its beauty and distinctive location in the Rafidia neighborhood of Nablus. It was demolished in preparation for building a commercial mall.

 Historical massacre

Engineer Ahmed Ashtayi, who works at one the engineering offices in the city, and who is interested in archaeological sites, described what happened to the archaeological sites in general, such as what happened with the Palace of Louhaz Abdel Hadi, as a historical and cultural massacre, regardless of the causes and pretexts.

 He told the PIC reporter, “At the beginning, I want to emphasize that these buildings reflect the identity of the city, which are part of the cultural heritage of cities and states, and it tells the history of the places in which they are located.”

 While Ashtayi stressed that these buildings, owned by citizens who have the right to sell them, he noted that decision-makers in the city could prevent destroying such buildings, by buying them and turning them into landmarks and shrines or converting them into commercial places, without changing their features. “It is the responsibility of the official and municipal authorities to protect the identity, history and culture of the city. In many countries, authorities maintain any historical landmark, even if it was an old house, by keeping and restoring it.”

 Protection of History

He called on all responsible authorities in the city of Nablus to protect archaeological sites and to document all historical landmarks, as they reflect the identity, history and authenticity of the city of Nablus, which attract thousands of tourists annually.

 Ashtayi attributed destroying old buildings to several factors, most importantly the control of the language of money over any other language, in addition to the lack of organization when it comes to construction in the city. This means implementing construction projects at the expense of old buildings and without giving any consideration to their cultural and historical status and symbolism in the community.

 In order to preserve the sustainability of these buildings and to protect them from any demolition under the pretext of economic development, Ashtayi proposed enacting laws that would protect these buildings and archaeological sites from demolition or harm and to work to preserve and document them using special maps and records that make the journey of anyone who want to come to the city easy. “In that case, we would encourage tourism by setting up some projects,” he said.


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