Abu Dhabi: The Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT-Abu Dhabi) is making significant strides in preserving the emirate’s cultural identity and heritage through its ‘Modern Heritage Initiative.’
This unique program aims to safeguard and maintain 64 buildings and sites that hold great architectural, historical, societal, or scientific significance, ensuring they are protected for future generations to cherish.
Aligned with the Cultural Heritage Law decreed in 2016 by Abu Dhabi, the Modern Heritage Conservation Initiative of DCT-Abu Dhabi is a crucial step in recognising and preserving the Emirate’s more recent past, alongside its archaeological sites and historic buildings. The pioneering initiative has now unveiled the initial set of 64 modern heritage sites that require immediate and unconditional protection. These buildings will be shielded from demolition applications, and priority will be given to maintain and rehabilitate them in accordance with their designated grade.
Significance of preserving
Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, emphasised the significance of preserving the architectural and urban heritage, stating that it plays an integral role in preserving Abu Dhabi’s culture and identity. He expressed the civic responsibility of safeguarding this modern heritage, not only for its value in the collective memory of the emirate’s residents but also for its historical testimony in narrating Abu Dhabi’s journey between its traditional past and its aspirations for the future.
The Chairman of the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, lauded the initiative’s role in maintaining the city’s public appearance, identity, and urban cultural heritage. The DMT’s involvement reflects its commitment to developing smart and sustainable cities while preserving their identity, enriching the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.
Diverse range of buildings
The list of 64 structures encompasses a diverse range of buildings, including hospitals, theatres, schools, mosques, parks, hotels, markets, and commercial establishments, among others. Each site holds a unique significance in the emirate’s history and growth. Notable examples include Al Manhal Palace, which was the first purpose-built presidential palace where the UAE’s flag was raised after joining the United Nations in 1971, and Al Ibrahimi Building, an award-winning architectural masterpiece designed by prominent Egyptian architect Dr. Farouq El Gohary.
As part of the ongoing Modern Heritage Conservation Initiative, DCT Abu Dhabi will continue to conduct surveys of Abu Dhabi’s built environment to identify and inventory other modern heritage sites for formal registration and further protection.
With this remarkable effort, DCT Abu Dhabi is setting a benchmark for preserving the emirate’s modern heritage, cherishing its past while embracing a sustainable and prosperous future. The initiative underscores the UAE’s commitment to safeguarding its cultural legacy and fostering an enduring appreciation for its architectural and urban identity.