The claws of the “real estate lobby” scratch the identity of European architecture in the red city

In every civilization whose history architecture speaks for, it clearly tells a story of cultural identity, or social inequality, which is a basis that characterized the city of Marrakesh as a tourist destination, whose existence dates back to the time of the Almoravids to the era of the French Protectorate, with its architecture known as the European city Gueliz area, by the Almohads, Saadians and Marinids, to form an image of Moroccan society in its diversity.

And because the buildings reflect the ambition of their owners, grandeur and beauty, the architecture of Marrakech city consists of historical cultural monuments in which the building has been transformed into an icon reminiscent of the skill of the traditional maker.The old stable villas and buildings in the province of Gueliz designed by the architects of the colonial era, to form a new neighborhood that will be inhabited by Europeans, and many of them are today threatened with demolition to be completed. Drive glass buildings without an architectural identity, which is the European architectural character.

And if the walls tell of the glory of those who built them and lived among them, and the monuments enable us to reconstruct what our predecessors lived, according to the expression of the historical philosopher Raymond Aron, in what sense can we then talk about this colonial architecture? Is it part of the identity of the city of Marrakech? And how can we handle these buildings that are spreading in Glasgow County? What is the significance of the artistic image of Jamaâ El Fna Square, in which ancient and modern European buildings are in harmony?

European architecture threatened

Regarding this architecture, which still exists, Ahmed Skounti, a research professor at the National Institute of Archeology and Heritage, said: “This is a common problem in Morocco, which has not yet been raised at the level of public debate, with the exception of limited initiatives that have taken place in the cities of Rabat and Casablanca since 1990, which have led to the intervention of public authorities. protection period, such as Mohammed V Street.

The researcher and expert on cultural heritage at UNESCO added in an interview with Hespress: “As for the buildings built with modern architecture and decoration for the European communities in Marrakesh, the deep public debate has not yet been raised, to answer to the question: Is this architecture considered a Moroccan heritage? Although Jemaa El-Fna Square gives it legitimacy because it houses it (Café de France, Café Estiam and Bank Al-Maghrib), next to an ancient heritage such as the old souks.

To deduce the neglect of colonial architecture, Sconti explained that attention is gained through individual efforts, such as those made by a Spanish engineer who fell in love with the city of Marrakesh, so he took inventory and categorized it by a map and a photograph of each building and its description and the name of the engineer who was behind the design, adding: “I printed This attempt was made by the Ministry of Culture, but it did not spread to the public not.”

And because this architecture is part of the identity of the city of Marrakech, the UNESCO cultural heritage expert proposed to open a dialogue between all government parties, including the elected institutions and the owners of these properties, to find a solution and a clear decision about the buildings that need to be preserved and need a license from the Ministry of Culture, and note that the group has The dirt is a big responsibility in the management of the city’s heritage, and it must assign specialists to take care of it and invest it within the tourist attraction.

restrictive terms

Regarding the limitations faced by this architecture, Abdellatif Marou, regional governor of cultural heritage at the regional directorate of culture in Marrakesh-Safi, said that “the first compulsion to prevent the classification of buildings lies in the absence of ‘ a scientific study concerned with the determination of the condition of the property and the condition of the building, and all the data on these buildings depend on a simple diagnosis In a time of laboratories that the use of accurate scientific standards and studies ensure that the building is under investigation with all its data and peculiarities. ”

And the same spokesperson went on to say: “We have held many meetings with everyone involved with these buildings to inventory them and form a provisional list, because the file of registration in the national heritage requires a lot of data; Such as the legal status of the building, topographical and engineering design, and historical research. When summoned by the governor, he expresses his opinion and rejects the permission to demolish it, demanding that the façade be preserved as an essential measure.

“The Directorate of Culture in the region of Marrakesh, with its few human resources and a poor budget, has made an inventory of about 200 buildings, determines what needs to be preserved, and determines the need to preserve its facade and the possibility of to rehabilitate it from the inside, and it was on the verge of collapse, and it was sent to the region’s wilaya and the city agency, ”says Maro, who pointed out that“ the field of heritage knows many stakeholders. That is why a national agency with regional interests must be created, with effective and rapid intervention similar to that of museums, to take care of the architectural and intangible heritage. ”

Real estate situation is an obstacle

Tarek Hanish, his deputy in the urban development and urban development sector in the municipality of Marrakesh, in turn explained that these buildings are not listed and are not restricted, adding: “We have a meeting with the governor of the Marrakesh region, the Minister of National Territorial Preparation, Urbanization, Housing and Urban Policy, and the Minister of Culture, regarding them, because their ownership belongs to personal people, and it is impossible to prevent them from getting rid of them, if there is are not clear legacy references, the group may be subject to legal action on their part, and individual inventory efforts are legally futile. ”

“Because these buildings are not included in the national heritage, we wrote to the Ministry of Culture about this; But until now it is still without nominal value, and it lacks a clear real estate situation, “Hanish said in an interview with Hespress.

His deputy in the urban development and urbanization sector in the Marrakesh commune added and suggested “the formation of a joint committee to carry out an inventory and classification of these buildings and to set specific standards that can be downloaded , and then these inheritance rules can be adopted to preserve what can be preserved from these buildings. ”

Everyone is responsible for their field

An official in the construction department of the prefecture of Marrakesh, who in an interview with Hespress requested not to be identified, explained that “the department of culture cares what it is entrusted with, to determine what should be preserved, whenever it appears to us that one of the buildings subject to the license enters the gray circle of buildings with The cultural dimension: We are waiting to authorize its demolition, and we are demanding income to preserve heritage. ”

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