In Morocco's history, Arabs, Amazighs (Berbers), Muslims, Jews, Europeans and Africans -- had lived together long enough that they shared language, culture, traditions, recipes, and work. This was a harmonious co-existence, and can be remembered through the cemeteries and historic places of worship, which tell these histories. However, due to corrosion, cemeteries, zawiyas and churches of the faiths are not maintained, and those who know the history are growing older.
In order to perpetuate the memory and re-kindle the spirit of this rich past, 400 local youth and teachers in Essaouira and Marrakech will visit cemeteries and historic houses of worship. The preservation of these sacred sites will include skills training for the guardians, infrastructural restoration, preservation of writing upon graves and prayer sites and its cataloging, and sustainable tree planting and maintenance in all three cemeteries to avoid erosion and make them more inviting.
This project seeks to raise awareness of this richness (through education locally), to increase understanding of its uniqueness (through the media), and to instill pride in the inclusive aspects of the Moroccan identity, which Morocco so clearly represents. This project is particularly important for its potential to demonstrate to the entire world that Muslims, Christians, and Jews can live together in harmony because here, they in fact have lived together in harmony for centuries.
This project has provided additional documentation in a Microsoft Word file (projdoc.doc).
High Atlas Foundation Website
The photo gallery of the project
UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Day Event