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Patrimoine et Pluralité: Politiques, Enjeux et Représentations dans le Maroc Contemporain

In the framework of the Project “Valorization of Portuguese Heritage” (FCG) and the UNESCO Chair in “Intangible Heritage and Traditional Know-How: Linking Heritage”, an International Seminar entitled Patrimoine et Pluralité: Politiques, Enjeux et Représentations au Maroc Contemporain was held from January 9–11, 2014, in the cities of Marrakech and Safi (Morocco). It was organized in cooperation with the Cadi Ayyad University, and in context of the Master course in Tourisme, Patrimoine et Développement durable that is currently given at its Faculty of Letters and Social Sciences.

The objectives and themes of the Seminar were presented by the Doyenne of the Faculty of Letters, Ouidad Tebbaa, by Prof. FilipeThemudo Barata (University of Évora), Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair, and the Architect and PhD student Ana Neno (CES- UC). Other presentations were made by the following speakers: Prof. Hassan Kamil, Le regard de l´anthropologie sur le patrimoine la pluralité d´observations sur les objets patrimonialisés ; Ana Neno, Safi, cas d´étude et démarches de terrain sur l´analyse d´un patrimoine partagé; Said Chemsi, De la mosquée almoravide à la cathédrale manuéline et de celle-ci à la mosquée saâdienne; Abdallah Alaoui, Les politiques du patrimoine-de la ville au musée; João Rocha, Le portail du patrimoine Gulbenkian: á la recherche sur le terrain; rendre utile l´inventaire. The presentations and following discussions were attended by a great number of students and teachers, while the lines of joint research, already foreseen for this year, were discussed in the context of the Chair.

The sessions continued during the following two days in Safi, a major sea port and city that was taken by the Portuguese in 1508. During the Portuguese occupation a new walled enclosure and two fortified structures were built under the supervision of the Arruda brothers Diogo and Francisco who, together with Pedro Alvarez, were responsible for both drawings and construction. A meeting with local authorities, which counted on the participation of the Directeur Régional de la Culture, Amarir Abdessalem, Mme L'Inspectrice Régionale des Monuments Historiques et des Sites à Safi, Wafae Meddah, and M. Le Délégué Provincial du Patrimoine Culturel, Lehbib La Asfar, was also held in the Upper Castle. There, a series of issues related to the tangible and intangible heritage of Safi and its surrounding area were discussed, as well as the main lines of action that should be taken.

Another debate on these topics took place at the Cadi Ayyad University Centre in Safi where, apart from the personalities already mentioned above, representatives of the following associations participated: Association Safi Mémoire; Association Assfou; Association Jeunesse et Coopération des Chantiers Internationaux; Association Sauvegarde des Monuments Historiques; Alliance des Safiots du Monde; Alliance Franco-Marocaine de Safi. This session was moderated by Filipe Themudo Barata and João Rocha, and counted on a presentation of the ongoing work by the Directeur Régional de la Culture, Abdessalem Amarir. The session provided the opportunity for a broad discussion among all participants, and was concluded with the reading of a statement regarding the next steps that should be taken for the safeguarding of Safi’s heritage.

During our stay in Safi, we also undertook a site visit and fieldwork activities at the Medina of Safi, under the participation of students from the Master course on Tourisme, Patrimoine et Développement durable, at Cadi Ayyad University, and with support of the local authorities. The structures of the Land Castle and the Sea Castle were also visited, as well as the prison, the Portuguese cathedral, the urban fabric of the Medina and the hill of the potters.