“Heritage distills the past into icons of identity.” – David Lowenthal
Our Mediterranean identity is inconceivable without our sea, and this was the starting point for today’s course on ‘Mediterranean Cultural Heritage’ that I gave at my place in Cairo.
Following an introduction to the Mediterranean from geographical, historical and cultural perspectives, we discussed the concept of cultural heritage and its typology (tangible and intangible, mobile and immobile), and then proceeded to talk about the Mediterranean Cultural Heritage with a focus on six areas, namely:
- Thought, Learning and Spirituality;
- Artistic and Literary Expression;
- Architecture and Urban Models;
- Intangible Heritage Domains;
- Industrial and Scientific Heritage;
- Documentary Heritage.
Epic poems, masterpieces of art and architecture, unique urban models, traditional crafts, extraordinary monuments, exotic elements of the folklore, cultural landscapes and heritage routes, rare books and illuminated manuscripts; the course covered so many aspects and elements of heritage from all 22 Mediterranean counties and their hinterland.
Logically, special emphasis was given to elements of the Egyptian heritage that appear on different UNESCO Heritage Lists (List of World Heritage Sites, List of Intangible Heritage, and Memory of the World Register). We ended the course with an overview of the main challenges, the key trends and the most heated debates related to cultural heritage in our part of the world.
Below are some slides from the PowerPoint presentation, many thanks to all those who joined and looking forward to the next course.