Photo: Christian / Fotolia

Chinese architect Mu Jun about building with rammed earth

Rare earths

ifa | China's history of rammed earth construction dates back to the Neolithic Age. Architect Mu Jun has been concerned with the art of rammed earth construction for years and has rediscovered its processes with local craftsmen. In an interview he talks about his experiences and a reconstruction project in Sichuan.

Algerian soldiers on the way to France

Commemorations without a trans-cultural, Euro-Mediterranean context

The Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in France

ifa | The European Year of Cultural Heritage is intended to lay the foundations for a European identity, an identity that is often controversial these days. Is the Eurocentric concept for a year of cultural heritage of the 1970s still viable today? And how can a more Euro-Mediterranean commemoration be achieved? The historian Ludolf Pelizaeus sees the first steps on a long road.

Vier Architectos – Municipal Swimming Pool, Toro, Spain, 2010; Photo: Vier Architectos

Contemporary earth buildings all over the world

Earth-earthed architecture

ifa | The mosque in the Malian Djenné is a world cultural heritage site and stands for a millennia-old earthen building tradition. Today, bricks and concrete dominate the industrial mass construction method in Europe, but architects are also working on alternative building materials.

Sack of coffee beans

More than translating and interpreting

The treasures of the Arabic language – and translation

ifa | The influence of translation is linguistically and culturally profound and diverse, extending far beyond the boundaries of individuals and communities. The power of translation and the extent to which it can change societies are shown by two movements of linguistic exchange that changed first the Arab-Islamic and later the Western-European world in lasting ways. They emanated from Baghdad and Cordoba.

Facade of a mosque with blue tiles

Egypt as part of the Mediterranean

Taha Hussein – the intellectual pioneer who makes the past the future

ifa | Hussein is considered one of the most important and influential Arab writers of the 20th century. He refused to view the Arab-Islamic heritage in isolation, but saw it instead as a space of exchange and built a bridge between Europe and Egypt, between Western modernity and the past Arab-Islamic civilization. His approach to this concept continues to have an impact on Arab thought to this day, and can make a very interesting contribution to inspiring the discussion on relations between countries around the Mediterranean.

World Natural Heritage: the Iguazú waterfalls in Paraná National Park, Brazil

Culture of knowledge – culture of memory – world heritage

Relevance instead of redundancy

ifa | Every object ages. What is in use today will be history tomorrow. But is an object only to be preserved, explored and communicated because it is old? "The historicity of an object is decisive," says historian Joachim-Felix Leonhard. It must have been effective in its time. If it was part of a culture of knowledge, it is also suitable for becoming part of the culture of memory. In his guest article, he reflects on the significance of cultural memory and seeks to take a global look at the World Heritage site.

Fortified church in Seliştat

Fortified churches in Romania

So that the bells will ring again

ifa | In the region of Transylvania in Romania, the German population once converted churches into fortified castles in order to protect their villages from invaders and looters. About 160 fortified churches have been preserved. However, since the emigration of the German minority in the 1980s they are threatened by decay. The Fortified Churches Foundation has been committed to preserving these cultural heritage sites. An interview with Foundation CEO Philipp Harfmann and ifa’s cultural manager Aurelia Brecht about their work and the future prospects of the fortified churches landscape.

65  Man on abridge

Europe and the Arabic world

Cultural partnerships for the protection of the Mediterranean heritage

ifa | Now at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Mediterranean is facing major challenges. In addition to political and economic relations, the common cultural heritage is endangered. In order to preserve this heritage and its unique history, UNESCO and European Union strategies are needed.


Restoration of the medina

Tétouan – Andalusian cultural heritage in Morocco

The medina, or old town, of Tétouan is one of the smallest in Morocco and at the same time, it is largely preserved. Committed citizens of Tétouan have given themselves the task of preserving this cultural heritage site. Can their restoration project be a role model for other cities?

The Mediterranean Sea, Europe and Africa from space

Euro-Mediterranean Knowledge Space Foundation

From Dublin to Damascus, from Niger to the North Cape

ifa | The conference Shared Heritage. Trans and intercultural heritage in the Euro-Afro-Mediterranean area held by the Euro-Mediterranean Knowledge Space Foundation (WEM) was part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. The Cultural Heritage Year focusses on the links between European cultures, their heritage and their memory. The aim of the conference was to expand the traditional memory space of the European cultural heritage and to take part in the discovery and organisation of a heritage that is largely shared by Europe, the southern Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Staircase with a visitor

Europe, the Mediterranean and its "shared heritage"

Success story of cultural cooperation

ifa | What can the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 do? It is not only within Europe that attention is to be drawn to the cultural foundations of our society. Understanding of the common heritage with neighbouring regions of the Mediterranean region as far as sub-Saharan Africa is also to be strengthened. Verena-Metze Mangold reports on the importance of a jointly valued cultural area and projects implemented to date.

View of the choir of the Herz Jesu Church in Apatin

Danube Swabian Cultural Heritage

"We're trying to save what is still possible"

ifa | The northern Serbian city of Apatin is one of the pivotal points for the cultural heritage of the German minority in Vojvodina these days. The Danube Swabian Church Museum was opened in 2014. Initiator Boris Mašić tries to find and save works of art, books and documents of the Germans. In an interview with the ifa, he talks about his work and expectations of Serbia, Germany and the European Union.