07 March 2018

Riwaq: Center for the recovery of historic buildings

Thanks to a thirty-year research, the Riwaq Center continues its ambitious project to restore hundreds of historical and archaeological buildings in Palestine in order to preserve their cultural heritage and their national identity.

Christians in the Holy Land

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The Riwaq Center was founded in Ramallah in 1991 with the purpose of registering and restoring historic buildings in Palestine, protecting them, preserving their collective memory and their national identity.

To implement this strategy, RIWAQ has launched an initiative called "Registry of Historic Buildings" by publishing numerous books and volumes that document thousands of images and maps.

Specialist in Architectural Restoration and Director - Riwaq
"Our heritage is in danger, because we have no infrastructure to support it, neither within the village councils nor in the municipalities. We do not have laws that protect historic buildings. Riwaq initiated the "National Register of Historic Buildings" project in 1994, which ended in 2006. It includes all the historic buildings in Palestine, including Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza: a total of 50,320 historical buildings in 422 cities and villages.”

With the completion of the National Registry of Historic Buildings, a 13 year process, RIWAQ now has a complete archive of data and information, which assists in directing hundreds of architects and workers who specialized in the rehabilitation and restoration of historic buildings in cities and rural areas.

Specialist in Architectural Restoration and Director - Riwaq
"RIWAQ has a specialized team of experienced designers and architects who have taken part in specialized courses and studies in restoration work. But the best restoration school will always be our work experience in these buildings.”

In the city of Qalandiya, located north of Jerusalem, there are still historical buildings that still need to be recovered: its archaeological district of Al-Haqqiyeh used now for social purposes, is one of them. Previously, this area was in a state of neglect and it was about to collapse. During our tour in the small city of 1,700 inhabitants, the RIWAQ architect, Aya Tahhan, spoke about the importance of preserving this neighborhood and giving it new life.

"This public use building, for the benefit of the inhabitants of the city, the village and the neighboring villages, is an example of RIWAQ's modus operandi. The goal is to create a suitable cultural and social environment, in order to change people's opinions about ancient buildings.”

President of the Municipal Council - Qalandia
"By preserving these buildings, we preserve our heritage, our origins and our existence in this country. If we lose this building and other similar buildings, we lose our inheritance and our identity.”