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Restoring history, heritage.

Summary: ABU DHABI -The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) has announced the completion of the first phase of its urgent building restoration programme. Throughout the emirate, 25 buildings are being restored as part of the authority's efforts to preserve the architectural heritage. The programme will add historical value to the region and is economically welcomed as it will attract tourism.

So far, the programme saw the restoration of historic buildings which were originally built with mud or stone. Most of them were located in Al Ain, where about 40 forts, palaces and historical houses are still standing, although many of them in poor condition.

"These buildings required an immediate intervention to ensure their safety and to avoid further deterioration," said Dr Sami Al Masri, Deputy Director-General for Arts, Culture and Heritage at ADACH.

ADACH launched the urgent building restoration programme in 2008 to meet the pressing need to save these buildings. ADACH's Department of Conservation began the second phase of the restoration by diagnosing the short and long term levels of urgency of the sites. The plan is to complete all work by the end of 2010.

The restoration process included work to the walls, roofs and windows of these buildings, which were on the verge of collapse due to the damage caused by the passing of time and abandonment.

"The preservation of heritage buildings is achieved not just through adding missing elements like roofs, doors and windows to restore their original image, but also through taking into account the historical value of the structure, and preserving its nature and character," explained Dr Masri.

Now ADACH continues to focus its efforts on the restoration of other historic buildings, also in the city of Al Ain. Because of the urgent nature of the work that some of these buildings required, the authority carried out only its preliminary studies, as this allowed it to considerably speed up the process. Yet, the organisation claims it maintained the international standards set for such projects.

The conservation measures ranged from simple methods of protection such as setting up fences, strengthening walls and installing temporary roofs to more technical procedures such as reforming clay bricks and cracks, and monitoring structural stability.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Nov 1, 2010
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