Tourism & travel, Venue, Culture

COSPE, rescuing the Tangierian heritage

HERITAGE Financed by the European Union and the the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, COSPE (Co-operation for the Development of Emerging Countries) is an Italian NGO whose mission is to protect Tangierian heritage.

Architects from an urban agency, tourism professors, heritage conservationists and museum curators are working together, hand in hand to protect the Tangier medina. Several projects are moving ahead based on four key areas: heritage protection, sustainable tourism, artisanal development and cultural heritage awareness.

Heritage protection and the tourism component make up a large-scale project. Panels guiding visitors through a tourist circuit will be installed at the entrance to the medina with six possible itineraries and a map with directions to help identify key areas. Populated by specialists, this map includes a legend and useful information about the medina.

Heritage awareness begins at home

And it’s not just for the interest of tourists, children in the neighbourhood will also learn about their cultural heritage via theVoyage dans la médina project, fieldtrips, organized visits and events as well as training workshops by national education representatives are scheduled. And the Le jeu de la tortue, based on the famous snakes and ladders, and offered in the schools and created by a historian and illustrated by a Tangerian painter, consists of answering questions about Tangierian heritage.

Training and workshops on zellig organized by mâalems from Tetouan and Fes will bring the knowledge of the Moroccan artisan. Finally, the program,Je m'engage pour ma médina hopes to create awareness with children and residents of the medina about taking care of the exisiting sites.

To prepare the locals for the flux of tourists via the marina, workshops are offered by volunteers with the NGO: literacy for women, cooking classes and lectures about their rights. And scholarly support is offered for children in partnership with the national education system. Finally, an open-air theatre will start in May and over the course of 10 weeks, two screenings per week will feature dramas and documentaries from the Arab world.

Text and photo Zineb Bennouna
Translation Mandy Sinclair