The concern with safeguarding traditional heritage in Algeria is being expressed in a series of seminars and congresses with the aim of encouraging debate among national and international institutions, associations and professionals about the way forward.
From 10 to 13 March 2013, the international seminar “Ouargla secteur sauvegardé” was organized by the Algerian Ministry of Culture with the participation of various representatives of RehabiMed, who offered an international view of intervention in historic centres.
The event opened on 9 March with a reception hosted by the Wali of Ouargla, in the form of a traditional festival where the various tribes present in the city offered scenes from their folklore and music. The academic seminar started on 10 March in the events hall of the Arts Centre, which was packed with over 400 people, showing the great interest in this seminar and the future urban regeneration of the city among its residents. A series of presentations by representatives of the Ministry of Culture outlined the legal framework of Protection Plans in Algeria and plans under way, such as those in Algiers and the M’zab Valley, and gave examples of specific interventions already carried out. An exhibition about earthen architecture in Algeria and around the world completed the Ministry’s activities.
In the international context, RehabiMed Method was presented as a guide for developing a protection plan, including a series of associated tools (inventories, inspection sheets, rehabilitation manuals, maintenance plans, etc.) and explaining the fundamental role of the preservation of traditional materials and trades by training heritage artisans.
On 11 March, workshops were organized to debate the following subjects: the financial advantages of rehabilitating buildings in protected sectors and the advantages of using local materials to rehabilitate ksars. These workshops were able to respond in greater detail to the concerns of local agents and culminated in a visit to the ksar of Ouargla, where participants were able to appreciate both the values of this historic centre and the lamentable state of disrepair into which it has fallen.
On 12 March, a large group of participants went to the M’zab Valley to visit various ksars, and the OPVM gave a detailed presentation of the restoration work of recent years and work currently under way, including the activities carried out in the framework of the Montada project. These visits ended on 13 March with the closing of the seminar, which produced a series of exchanges that will help to launch Ouargla’s Protection Plan.