Mauritania.. The launch of the tenth edition of the “Cities Heritage Festival”

موريتانيا.. انطلاق النسخة العاشرة من "مهرجان مدائن التراث"

The activities of the tenth edition of the Cities of Heritage Festival (the new name of the Ancient Cities Festival) were launched in the historic city of Ouaddan in northern Mauritania.

The last edition of the festival was postponed last year due to the circumstances imposed by the new Corona virus pandemic in the country.

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Sheikh Ghazouani opened the festival, which represents a development and cultural approach that aims to highlight the cultural and civilizational radiance of the city of Ouaddan, in addition to important touches on development aspects, according to a statement published by the official agency.

During the festival, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Sheikh Al-Ghazouani called for standing up to what he described as the rising tribal spirit in the country these days, considering that it contradicts the logic of the modern state.

Ould Ghazouani also spoke about what he described as the injustice and negative outlook to which certain social groups were subjected, despite their great contribution to the steadfastness of ancient cities.

The Mauritanian President’s talk about these groups came in light of the controversy taking place in Mauritania in recent days, about the social injustice and bullying faced by traditional craftsmen, known locally as “teachers,” after a harsh criticism directed at this group by one of the religious sheikhs.

Despite his later apology for that conversation, some “For Teachers” activists are still demanding that the law be enforced against anyone who promotes targeting any social segment in the country, and they are demanding that work be done to reduce the bullying to which this group is exposed.

This year, the Mauritanian state allocated more than 3 billion ouguiyas (equivalent to $82,621,866) to organize this festival, which is considered the largest cultural gathering in the country, some of which was directed to financing various development projects that contribute to improving access to basic services, such as water and electricity. And education, and in breaking isolation and supporting agricultural and livestock development.

The festival was established more than ten years ago with the aim of preserving the four historical cities in the country (Chinguetti, Adan, Tichit, and Lata), which are classified on the World Human Heritage List, and promoting them developmentally through the projects accompanying this cultural festival.

According to the festival’s organizers, this annual cultural event – which was established in 2012 – is based on a strategic vision keen to protect and preserve cultural heritage, and value its capabilities through developing tourism products for these cities and enhancing communication between them.