HERITAGE AT RISK

The Umayyad Caliphate was one of the highlights in the history of Islam

It´s time for action!

Once upon a time, Islam merged South Arabian culture with that from other civilizations. This happened during with the Umayyad Caliphate, and created a precedent that contributed to strengthen the evolution of mankind and knowledge in all fields: science, medicine, architecture even literature and philosophy.

Embraced by the succeeding Abbasid Caliphate, this cultural heritage is nowadays being neglected or just plainly destroyed by sectarian groups. That´s why we need your help to preserve it, because it is the memory of mankind that is at stake.

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Umayyad Legacy aims to obtain funds to create wealth and means of development for local communities.

The instrument is cultural heritage. We start with the work done by the Spanish team led by Dr. Arce in the city of Al-Hallabat in Jordan. The excavation at Al-Hallabat includes the castle known as Qasair Amra (name which stands for Red Castle) and the nearby hammam. This site was used as a leisure residence during the Umayyad caliphate, almost 1500 years ago. Qasair Amra was a retirement place for those who lived in the desert and wished, from time to time, to spend a more sedentary life.

Recent events have led to a reduction in budgets for heritage and archeology

leaving Al- Hallabat with little been therefore necessary to resort to a fund raising campaign. During the process of creating the campaign, heritage hit the news worldwide as it became an object of destruction by radical groups. Why that hate? For what purpose is that legacy being erased? What evil can find an obstacle in history? This led us to think that this campaign was to prove with evidence that there was another Islam: that of the Umayyads. Their contribution, and the later of the Abbasids, was extremely relevant at all levels for Islam itself and, more important, to the development of western civilization. Therefore this is more than a crowd funding campaign: it is a commitment to history of humanity.

This fund raising campaign has 4 aims:

  • Finish the work done at the site of Al-Hallabat including:

    • Wall mounting of a replica of the edict of  EmperorAnastasius

    • Completing the lighting of the complex

    • Electronic catalogue of findings and museum pieces of Al-Hallabat

    • Geophysical prospecting of the garden at Hammam as-sarrah.

  • Training courses for the local community on heritage and conservation, based on the manuals by AECID. This will include: Archeological Preventive Conservation, Heritage Awareness, as well as courses for Heritage Tourism Development, etc.
  • A campaign based on the legacy of the Umayyad, which is to pay homage to the contribution of this Caliphate to later development of Islam, and human progress overall. This is also to help create awareness about the importance of heritage and its social and economic contribution in areas around the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East. This campaign will have a digital strategy, which should be enforced on a later date with local actions.
  • Produce a film documentary that is to be the core of the storytelling. A walk through the history of the Umayyad Caliphate that will include the testimony of experts. It will also include the views and experiences of people that locally benefits from the existence of this heritage in Al-Hallabat as well as other sites.

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AL HALLABAT NEEDS YOU

Al-Hallabat is the location of one of the finest examples of civil constructions of the Umayyad period. It is included in the list of historical sites from United Nations, and a prime example of international cooperation in the interests of heritage, and the improvement of social conditions in local communities. Dr Ignacio Arce during the past 15 years has been director of the excavation at Hallabat , where he has developed a highly reputed international team, which included a large number of local workers and scientists from Jordan. As Dr. Arce himself states:

“WE ONLY PRESERVE WHAT WE LOVE. AND WE CAN ONLY LOVE WHAT WE KNOW”


READ A FOREWORD BY DR. IGNACIO ARCE

cultural bridge

'AND SAY: MY LORD, INCREASE ME IN KNOWLEDGE'

وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا

Recent events in the Middle East show how heritage has become a target of destruction by terrorist groups. As mentioned by Nabil Al-Arabi, President of the Arab League:

“This barbaric attack against the cultural heritage of the Iraqi people is one of the most odious crimes committed in our day and age against the heritage of humanity”

So it is the Legacy of the Umayyads, which is the Heritage of Islam.

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Guess who established Arabic as the official language in many countries? And who developed earlier medicine and even wrote the first surgery manuals? Or developed the mathematical numerals you work with every day?

These, and many others, are contributions of the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates. Their wisdom was based on their own developments and the aggregation of knowledge from others. They integrated the experiences of people, from a wide diversity of ethnicities and backgrounds that enriched this legacy, in a process of reciprocity that once made Islam a bridge of culture and wisdom.

During this, Islam achieved its splendour connecting the Atlantic Ocean, and the basin of the river Indus, reaching the maximum geographical extension to date.

This was due to many different factors; among which a smart diplomacy based on tolerance of other religions was key, as well as permeability to surrounding culture and knowledge. A prime example of this was the integration of Constantinople´s architecture models in to Umayyad´s tradition. Therefore its impossible to understand Islam neither Judeo-Christian civilization, without the Umayyad Caliphate´s direct contribution, as well as the fact that it was a bridge of culture and knowledge, particularly of classical Greco-Roman era. Islamic legacy has been built on the cultural and historical foundations of thousands of years. The contributions and experiences of people, from a wide diversity of ethnicities and backgrounds have enriched this legacy, as well as that of neighbouring lands, in a process of reciprocity that once made of Islam a vehicle of wisdom.

Therefore, the Umayyad’s are part of the layers that conform the foundations of all civilizations on the Mediterranean basin and beyond. These are all layers which settle with time, and are made of convictions, beliefs, experiences, dreams or desires (both tangible and intangible) and therefore they should be preserved, and even turned into an asset of local communities. Thus it is essential to maintain historical heritage as the legacy of previous generations, and prove it as an economic asset to local communities that can benefit from it, enforcing a sense of ownership. As mentioned by the Vice-president of Ars Civilis Foundation Cristina Gutiérrez-Cortines:

“We want to contribute to a better knowledge and understanding of the ancient cultures, and the legacy of Islam is now in at great risk. Because knowledge of these art manifestations, develops the sense of ownership and social responsibility. We cannot appreciate and love what we ignore”.

Follow this link for further information about Ars Civilis and the work the do.

Fund Raising

We need to raise 95.700€ to provide new means of development for local communities. New? Well not THAT new. Cause the tool will be heritage. Heritage is a very effective asset for social development due to its economic value around its conservation and touristic interest, but also cause provides a sense of ownership and historical perspective. We want to make the people masters of their fate.


KNOW MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN


support the people working at al hallabat

Enclosed you will find audiovisuals as well as letters and messages of support from individuals and institutions who share a common concern for heritage and its conservation. As well as doccuments and scientific data about the excavation and the works ongoing.

 

Many international institutions and individuals have compromised with heritage

and some of them also shared their support for the conservation of Al Hallabat. Following you will find

 

some inspiring quotes

  • Everybody has the right to be proud of their own art and History

    — Cristina Gutierrez Cortines. Head of the Ars Civilis Foundation —
  • Destroying the inheritance of the past robs future generations of a powerful legacy, deepens hatred and despair and undermines all attempts to foster reconciliation

    — Ban Ki-moon. UNESCO Secretary-General —
  • The rampant destruction of cultural heritage – including ancient cities, houses and temples – is deepening hatred in the war-torn country and must stop

    — Arab League on destruction of Syria —

You want to come along?

Any way that you can help is greatly appreciated. These campaigns do the best when they get momentum right from the start, so I wanted let you know as soon as we launched. Backing the project is amazing, but even just Tweeting or forwarding a post in our page would go a long way to bringing Legacy of Islam, and the Al-Hallabat excavation, to life!

Let us know other places

“heritage can also be destroyed by Lack of maintenance and oblivion”

 

Please contact us if you have any information about local heritage you may want to share: do you know of any interesting buildings nearby, historic remains or ancient sites which might be endangered in your area? Send us a photograph and information to info@umayyadlegacy.org and let us know about it, or fill in the following form:

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