Emirates' experience used to manage Sudan heritage sites

A Staff Reporter
Filed on May 15, 2006

ABU DHABI — A Unesco-certified expert from the Strategic Planning Office at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (Adach) has completed a fact-finding mission with a representative from Unesco to northern Sudan.

The mission aims at developing a management plan for the archaeological site of Gebel Barkal, the first Sudanese site inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List.

The plan will detail a programme of restoration, conservation and protection of the site, the development of a tourism infrastructure with proper interpretation and suitable visitor amenities. The site of Gebel Barkal is famous for its ancient tombs, pyramids, temples, buildings and royal palaces.

According to the expert, Dr Sami Al Masri, Head of the Strategic Planning Office, the experience of Adach in developing the strategy for the conservation and management of the Cultural Heritage of Abu Dhabi Emirate, prepared in collaboration with Unesco, is one of its kind as it offers a thorough assessment of the emirate’s needs in the field of cultural heritage management. The strategy, which is under implementation by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, will stretch over the next five years. It is considered a precedence in terms of dealing with all the aspects of the cultural heritage as a whole.

Dr Masri also noted that the experiences developed at Adach will be invested locally and on the pan-Arab scale in order to help and support joint efforts for developing cultural heritage sector and enhancing the collective heritage of the Arab countries. Such experiences cover the fields of inventorying the cultural heritage, inscribing sites, surveying cultural resources, and dealing with all aspects of cultural heritage management from archaeological excavations, conservation, establishing museums, promoting cultural heritage in the media, communicating with the wider society, enhancing cultural education, enforcing cultural heritage protection norms and regulations, activating research, and promoting sustainable cultural tourism.

The Abu Dhabi Cultural Heritage Management Strategy includes preparing a number of natural and archaeological sites to be inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List, and Adach is upgrading existing cultural heritage capacities within the emirate of Abu Dhabi to be able to meet the challenges of World Heritage Site management. Adach is dwelling on the latest experiences and technologies to achieve those aims.

Gebel Barkal is a major archaeological site in Sudan. It was a sacred place for the Nubians who worshipped their own gods and thought that this sacred mountain was the home of the god Amon Raa. The region, which is spread over more than 60km in the Nile valley, dates back to the Napatan and Meroi cultures in the second epoch of the Kosh Kingdom. The Napatan culture lasted from 900BC to 270BC, and the Meroi culture from 270BC to 350AD.

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