Horn Diplomat

Eritrea capital Asmara makes World Heritage list

Architecture from the colonial era left an “exceptional example” of modernism, judges say.

The UN cultural agency Unesco has added Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, to its list of World Heritage sites. The country still holds many well-preserved modernist buildings from the time when it was ruled by Italy (1889-1941).
bowling alley with coloured glass windows and a huge skittle on the outsideAFP
Unesco said Asmara was “an exceptional example of early modernist urbanism at the beginning of the 20th century and its application in an African context”. This bowling alley was built in the era in an art deco style.
Famous among them is the Fiat Tiaglero building, a petrol station shaped as an aeroplane. Built in 1938, it now stands empty.
The garage, which was still in use when this photograph was taken in 1999, is a prime example of how European architects would go to the city to develop work deemed too wacky in their home countries.
man taking bowling ball from queue in an art deco bowling alleyAFP
Eritrean authorities declared the city a national monument in 2001, and had been attempting for years to gain recognition for its architectural heritage.

 

AFP
More than 400 modernist buildings survive, having lived through a decades-long conflict with Ethiopia.
The garage, which was still in use when this photograph was taken in 1999, is a prime example of how European architects would go to the city to develop work deemed too wacky in their home countries.
The Cinema Impero, completed in 1937, still holds screenings for thousands of Eritrean cinemagoers. The country’s representative to Unesco, Hanna Simon, said the announcement filled the city with “tremendous pride and joy but also with a profound sense of responsibility and duty”.
AFP
The central post office was completed between 1915 and 1916. Advocates for the city have warned the buildings are not receiving the financial investment they need.

 

Their addition to the list means that if Unesco judges them to be in danger, it may step in to preserve them. But unlike Hebron’s Old City, added to the list earlier this week, Asmara has not been noted to be in particular danger.
Mbanza Kongo in Angola and Khomani in South Africa (pictured) were both also added to the World Heritage list on Saturday.

SOURCE:BBC

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