NAT 200427 Fishermen Wharf at Mina Zayed-1588000675826
Fisherman's Wharf in Mina Zayed is among the listed buildings Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) in Abu Dhabi on Monday launched a campaign to raise the public’s awareness of modern heritage, with the aim of fostering civic pride and inspiring stakeholders to take action to conserve the past, a statement from the department said.

The campaign aims to bring awareness to the DCT’s initiative to celebrate, protect and preserve culturally significant buildings and sites of the recent past to help foster civic pride and narrate the story of Abu Dhabi’s growth.

Through the ongoing modern heritage initiative, the DCT has been identifying, protecting and maintaining the sites that narrate the country’s recent history. In 2016, the emirate of Abu Dhabi introduced the Cultural Heritage Law, which established modern heritage on par with archaeological sites and historic buildings, and the DCT Abu Dhabi has been leading in the identification and protection of Abu Dhabi’s modern heritage.

NAT 200427 Al Ibrahimi Building 2-1588000671921
Al Ibrahimi Building is another of the culturally significant buildings Image Credit: Supplied

As a result, sites such as the Cultural Foundation and Abu Dhabi Bus Station have been protected to provide physical evidence of the city’s continued development.

The Cultural Foundation is the first registered modern heritage site to have been rehabilitated according to international best practice.

“As we approach 2021 and look to celebrate 50 years since the founding of the UAE it is crucial that we, as a nation, reflect on how far we have progressed. Through the Modern Heritage initiative, we have the opportunity to tell the unique story of where we have come from and where we are today,” said Mohamad Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi. “Modern heritage is not only about sizeable architectural icons; it also includes informal and more modest sites that embody historical, social or cultural values, which are equally significant to the story of the UAE,” he said.

“Sadly, many of these buildings have been deteriorating because of lack of maintenance and neglect, inappropriate renovations and repairs, lack of awareness and interest, shifts in trends and fashions and many other reasons,” he said.

“Individually and collectively, we have the civic responsibility to maintain and protect our modern heritage sites and so it is essential to safeguard the significant buildings and sites that represent our identity and are a record of our past, which we can then use to inspire future development,” the chairman said.

An awareness campaign is being launched to introduce the concept of modern heritage and what it means to the emirate and to the country, and foster appreciation of these sites and their cultural value. The second phase will involve an action plan for the maintenance and protection of these modern heritage sites in accordance with the Abu Dhabi Cultural Heritage Law.