Middle East > Art / Culture

Art / Culture in Middle East

  • Turkey relocates medieval tomb over flooding risk

    TURKEY, 2017/09/03 Turkish authorities on Friday conducted a hugely ambitious and controversial operation to move a centuries-old tomb to new location to stave off the risk of flooding from a dam project. The tomb of Zeynel Bey is a 15th century memorial to one of the key figures in the Ak Koyunlu tribe who controlled much of eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus and vied for supremacy with the emerging Ottomans. The exquisite building, known for its dome and intricate coloured stonework, lies in the old town of Hasankeyf in the southeastern Batman province. Much of the town will be under water or risk damage in the next years because of the development of the Ilisu Dam project which aims to drastically improve energy supplies for the Kurdish-dominated southeast. Turkish authorities conduct controversial operation to move centuries-old tomb out of area at risk of flooding from local building projects.
  • Cyprus convention targets trade in 'blood antiquities'

    CYPRUS, 2017/09/03 Six nations on Friday signed a Council of Europe convention which criminalises the illegal trade in "blood antiquities" that can be used to finance terrorism, officials said. The initiative, which was launched at a CoE ministerial conference in Nicosia, comes next jihadists in war-torn Syria and Iraq have looted and sold ancient artifacts to fund their policy.Six countries sign Council of Europe convention in Nicosia criminalising trade in ancient artifacts looted, sold by jihadists in war-torn Iraq and Syria. "Today, the international community takes a crucial leap forward in the protection of our cultural heritage, particularly in the efforts to combat the trade in blood antiquities by trans-national organised crime and terrorist networks," said Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.
  • Ramadan TV dramas get inspiration from Syria war

    SYRIA, 2017/09/03 The sound of the blast in Syria's capital Damascus brought worried residents running, but rather than carnage they found a crew filming one of the country's famed television drama series. Moments before, director Rasha Sharbatgi had been wielding her loudhailer, calling for silence before counting down to the controlled explosion. Onlookers arriving at the set near Arnus Square in central Damascus found a burning car and people lying on the ground.
  • Illicit antiquities trade threatening cultural heritage

    IRAQ, 2017/09/03 Besides the illicit trade of weapons and drugs, smugglers in the Mid­dle East and North Africa have found a lucrative business in trafficking antiquities.Lost treasures. A fragment of an Assyrian-era relief is seen at the ancient site of Nimrud that was destroyed by the Islamic National fighters near Mosul. The smuggling of ancient arte­facts to wealthy clients around the world has spiked in the last decade, with experts warning that the re­gion’s archaeological heritage is in peril.
  • Three decades later, Saudis get their first concert

    SAUDI ARABIA, 2017/09/02 Legendary Arab singer Rashed al-Majed gave his fans three encores in the Saudi capital on Thursday night. Why not? They had waited about three decades for such a show. Majed opened for Mohammed Abdu as part of what one music lover called a "paradigm shift" in the conservative Islamic kingdom, which has cautiously begun introducing entertainment despite opposition from Muslim hardliners.
  • H.E Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of Bahrain Authority For Culture and Antiquities

    BAHRAIN, 2017/03/04 “Distinct from regular tourism, Bahrain’s cultural tourism specifically celebrates a country’s history, art, architecture and the traditions that have shaped a way of life. We have historically always been open to the world, welcoming visitors and traders alike,” says Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities What is the importance of culture and art for Bahrain’s socio economic development? It doesn’t matter where in the world, culture and art are key factors for not only social but economic development as well. We believe that the role of culture in development should be treated as multi-layered: on one hand as an intrinsic price, and secondly as a real factor for Bahrain’s development leading to increased attractiveness of the country for tourists, residents and investors, thirdly, as an active factor of social development based on knowledge, tolerance and creativity.
  • How Tanzania Helped Soften Unesco Resolution in Favour of Israel

    ISRAEL, 2016/11/02 Tanzania was instrumental in helping the Israel to thwart the harsher Unesco resolution that sought to deny the Jewish national any historical ties to the Temple Mount. Unesco's World Heritage Committee (WHC) last Wednesday approved a resolution on the status of conservation of the Old City of Jerusalem, inclunding the Temple Mount. The resolution was part of Unesco's sustained efforts to try to reaffirm Jerusalem's placement on the inventory of endangered World Heritage Sites. But the sensitivities brought about by the contested status of East Jerusalem have always complicated matters.
  • Long isolated, Africa’s Jewish ‘islands’ bridged by photographer’s lens

    JAPAN, 2016/07/25 The synagogues of emerging Jewish communities in Africa are often modest affairs at the end of bumpy dirt roads, communities which feel a historical or spiritual connection to Judaism, but are struggling to practice fully in their isolated conclaves. Judaism has always had a presence in North Africa, and later, in South Africa. But among this vast continent, dozens of new Jewish communities are beginning to reach out to the wider Jewish world. Some, like Ghana, believe they are historical descendants of Jewish traders in the Sahara. Others, in Uganda and Kenya, have felt a spiritual pull to Judaism. Photographer Jono David, 50, has attempted to capture intimate moments of small, emerging Jewish communities across Africa in 30 different nations and territories. An exhibition of some of those photos, The Children of Abraham and Sarah, is presently featured at Beit HaTfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People, through December. It is part of an installation that as well includes Nina Pereg’s two videos, filmed at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, showing preparations to flip the holy site from a mosque to a synagogue and vice versa, during the two days each year at the same time as the whole complex is open to either Jews or Muslims.
  • Sports betting in Azerbaijan could become taxed

    AZERBAIJAN, 2015/10/18 Azerbaijan's Taxes Minister Fazil Mammadov has voiced a proposition to make winnings from sports betting in Azerbaijan subject to gain tax starting in 2016. Addressing a discussion over draft amendments and additions to the Tax Code at a conference of the parliamentary committee on economic policy on October 16, he noted that winnings from bets have not been taxed since January 1, 2013. Given the fact that the annual turnover of sports betting in Azerbaijan amounts to about 300 million manats ($286.45 million), national budget revenues from the taxation of sports betting could reach 25 million manats ($23.87 million) in 2016.
  • Constantine, Capital of Arab Culture Event

    IRAN, 2015/10/10 Minister of Culture Azzedine Mihoubi greeted Thursday in Algiers the participation of Iran in "Constantine, Capital of Arab Culture" event, saying that the "the large Iranian delegation to this event confirms the appropriate relations between the two nations." Following the audience he granted to the chairman of Iran's League of Culture and Islamic Relations, who leads the Iranian delegation participating in the event, Mihoubi told reporters that the discussions focused on the ways to promote bilateral cultural cooperation. The minister said President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rohani, had expressed will to boost bilateral relations in all fields.