Built Heritage Conservation in Bahrain | Think & Talk | Seminar No. 6

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OHWB e.V. would like to cordially invite you to attend its Sixth seminar of the “Heritage Seminar Series | Orient in Context”, on Thursday July 25th, 2013 as part of its “Think & Talk” scientific events. The seminar would take place @ ENGAGEMENT GLOBAL gGmbH, Pangea-Haus, Trautenaustraße 5., 10717 Berlin, between 19:00-21:00, with a presentation entitled “Built Heritage Conservation in Bahrain” by Eva Battis with discussions following afterwards.

Among the smaller countries of the Persian Gulf, the island state of Bahrain unites an extraordinary array of heritage sites on its small territory, which tell stories of the various societies that have flourished here. Attracted foremost by it natural richness, including abundant sweet water, lush palm gardens and pearls, different cultures have left traces in Bahrain. The country’s built heritage includes millennia old archeological remains, ruins of medieval forts, traditional urban areas with traces of their vernacular architecture and so-called colonial style buildings that bear testimony of the early 20th century modernization under British influence.

All of this historic evidence has suffered tremendous losses in the face of the revolutionary changes brought about in the oil-era. Development pressure and neglect in places still threatens to further decimate the rich heritage-scape of Bahrain, despite a wide range of protective initiatives, particularly by the very active governmental heritage authority but also by private actors.

Built Heritage Conservation in Bahrain

The range of interventions is as manifold in character as the heritage sites themselves. Two sites, Qal’at al Bahrain, the ancient capital and harbour of Dilmun, and Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy, have already received international recognition of their importance through UNESCO World Heritage listing. But also various others, mostly architectural and urban sites, have been subjected to most varied physical conservation or revitalization initiatives, ranging from restoration and adaptation to often conjectural reconstructions and recreations. Particularly a number of recent architectural conservation projects, however, strive for authentic representation of sites intending to let the buildings tell truth about their past and present.

In her talk, Eva Battis will pick up on the ancient mesopotamian narratives that were referred to in earlier talks and link it to heritage conservation and share insights into the fast evolving world of heritage conservation practice in Bahrain based on more than four years of involvement and observation in the field.

Eva Battis is a German architect by training who has worked in architectural and urban conservation projects in countries such as Germany, Spain, Syria, Egypt and Bahrain. Her experience in urban conservation includes work for the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ) in the Old Town Rehabilitation Project of Aleppo, Syria, as well as for the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme in the Al-Darb Al-Ahmar Revitalization Project. As a graduate of the World Heritage Studies masters program of the Brandenburg Technical University (BTU) she has been involved since 2008 in a wide range of heritage conservation initiatives in Bahrain both of the governmental heritage authority and the private sector. She has lectured at the University of Bahrain and the German University of Technology in Oman and recently returned to BTU as a doctoral candidate and lecturer, while working for the Institute for Heritage Management (IHM).