Spain's Andalucia region to help develop Varanasi
New Delhi | October 13, 2007 1:05:31 AM IST
Spain's autonomous Andalucia region is to assist Unesco in preserving the cultural heritage of the Hindu holy town of Varanasi and to ensure the development of its urban areas on scientific lines.
"Andalucia is famous for its Islamic heritage cities of Seville and Granada and the collaboration is good way of bringing us together," the region's vice president, Gaspar Zarrias, told reporters here Friday.
"We will be providing technical assistance to Unesco to create an electronic archive where all the information about Varanasi would be collected and proceed ahead from there," he added.
"We have entered into this collaboration to not only preserve Varanasi's heritage but also to showcase our own culture and heritage and thus attract more Indian tourists to Andalucia," Zarrias maintained.
The collaboration is being undertaken through Unesco's Network of Indian Cities of Living Heritage.
Unesco established the network in 2006 with the support of the Indian urban development ministry and the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission to promote sustainable development of India's historic cities.
Zarrias, during his two-day visit here, held discussions with officials from Unesco and the Varanasi chapter of INTACH, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, to extent of Andalucian funding.
The Andalucian government and Unesco will now sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Paris to take the collaboration forward.
Spanish ambassador to India Ion de la Riva said the project "will enhance the long history of cooperation and partnership between our two countries."
According to Minja Yang, who heads Unesco's office here, said it was undertaking the project because Varanasi was "one of India's most important cities" from the cultural point of view.
"It expresses much about the spirituality of the country through its geography and architecture," she added.
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