Our project named "Documentation and Promotion of the Syriac Intangible Heritage in Mardin Region" is funded by the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).
The main purpose of the project is safeguarding the intangible values through the documentation and dissemination of the information on the cultural practices of the Syriac community in the Mardin region and assessing the risks exposed to the tangible heritage of the same community. This project presents a model case that intangible heritage is conceived as integral to the tangible heritage and that the preservation of it requires a strategy that is developed/accepted by the successors of that heritage.
There are publications within the scope of this project regarding the intangible heritage. And these publications include three booklets that provide detail information about the Syriac intangible heritage, the risks threatening this heritage, and recommendations for safeguarding. Since the engagement of the young generations with historic preservation is a vital aspect of the sustainability of any effort for safeguarding the heritage, we are preparing a child book also in order to communicate with the next generation directly.
As the main goal of the project, taking initiative for the safeguarding of the intangible Syriac heritage is an urgent need not only for the community itself, but also for the whole region. The region, that is called Turabdin in Syriac tradition, has housed a society with a multilingual, multiethnic, multicultural, and multi-religious character. The communities of this society included Muslims, Christians, and Ezidis; and the Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish, and Syriac languages have been contemporarily spoken throughout the history. Our main goal was to sustain this diverse character.
In order to do that we aimed to documenting and promoting the Syriac community’s cultural practices (including their language), extending the networks of the Syriac activists, NGOs, and initiatives, supporting and promoting their activities, and preparing the risk assessment reports for the architectural and urban heritage through the outputs of the project.
Over 3 site visits we documented a total of 60 edifices, some of which had no prior architectural record, with 3 different multi-disciplinary teams composed of 20 experts. We believe that these endangered edifices’ documentation and risk assessment reports are some of crucial works that have been done for the Syriac heritage in the area. In addition, we engaged with the local communities as well as national and international stakeholders in order to have as high an impact as possible.