Architectural Engineering Organizes Open Day for Hebron, Bethlehem Handicrafts

The Birzeit University Architectural Engineering Department organized an open day for traditional crafts and industries in the governorates of Hebron and Bethlehem on November 27, 2014, aiming to promote creativity in arts, crafts and design, and to revive historic cities within MEDNETA communities.

The open day, part of the MEDNETA project, was held under the patronage of Hebron governor Kamel Hamid, and attended by Mayor of Hebron Daoud Zaatari, Director General of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Rjoub, and Hebron Rehabilitation Committee Director Ghassan Idris, along with many other guest from Hebron and Bethlehem.

The open day, which was held in the Hebron municipality hall, included an exhibition of many traditional industries, including ceramics, pottery, mosaic, wood, embroidery, accessories, sand drawing and brassware.

The exhibition opened with a welcome speech by project director Shadi Ghadban, who talked about the project, Promoting the Creativity in the Arts, Crafts and Design for Communities’ Regeneration in Historical Cities, as a cooperative effort between institutions located in the Mediterranean Basin, whether in European or Arab countries, such as Greece, Italy, Palestine, Lebanon and Tunisia. The project seeks to develop creative design and regenerate and strengthen the relationships between local communities and craftsmen.

Director General Rjoub spoke about the political status quo in Hebron, and its impact on the city's economy, emphasizing the vital role of traditional industries in promoting the Palestinian identity, and its ability to attract tourism in a way that would revive the city’s economy.

Idris addressed the role of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee in preserving historical buildings and monuments by restoring them and reviving the old town, adding that such events contribute substantially to the development and promotion of tourism there.

On behalf of the National Technical University of Athens and the entire consortium of the MEDNETA project, Mr. Stratakis thanked everyone for their participation in this open day, noting that the project will soon complete its first year and hoping that the second year will be as successful. 

Thirty-five craftsmen and five organizations participated in the open day, and over 800 people visited the exhibition, despite bad weather conditions in Hebron on the day of the event.