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Cooperation and the sharing of universal values

Cité épiscopale d’Albi

Earth is the most universal construction material, bearing witness to the remarkable human achievements in the valleys of the Tigris and the Euphrates, on the banks of the Nile, the Indus and the Huang, the ancient town of Aleppo, the fortified city of Baku, the town of Sana’a, the great mosque of Djenné or the pueblo de Taos...

Similarly, in Spain, the Islamic aesthetic combines with Christian art to offer exceptional sites inspired by mudéjar art and architecture and classed as a world heritage site for the extremely refined and inventive use of brick.

Albi’s Episcopal city stands alongside these remarkable sites, constructed entirely in fired brick, and thus original when compared to other civilisations.

Promoting such a site, revealing its riches, discussing the builders’ talents, sharing the inspirations of its authors and bringing together the world’s citizens proud of their heritage naturally constitutes the promotion of universality.

In 2003 the town of Albi decided to engage in a partnership with a town already inscribed on the list of world heritage sites in order to share experiences and technical knowledge.

In 2005, with the help of ’Cités Unies France,’ Albi entered into cooperation with the town of Abomey, in the Republic of Benin, famous for its exceptional heritage of earth constructions: 40 hectares of world heritage royal palaces.

This programme was the object of a ’decentralised cooperation agreement’ benefiting from the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The agreement for 2008-2011 contains, notably, a new dimension with the promotion of tourist attractions associating the discovery of heritage with cultural cooperation. The government of Benin has already welcomed this new initiative.

Finally, in order that all civilisations can recognise Albi’s Episcopal city as part of their own heritage, the town of Albi has launched programmes of international partnership.

Already in association with CRATerre-ENSAG, the centre of excellence of the UNESCO Chair on Earthen Architecture created in 1998, the town of Albi intends a new partnership with the Institute of the Arab World. Albi’s Episcopal city will also join the network of the world heritage sites that are built in earth.

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