Administration, Ownership, and Heritage Preservation: The Italian Architectural Heritage of Gondar Town, 1941-1974
Sub-theme: History and Archaeology
This paper examines the Italian architectural heritage of Gondar town and the factors that shaped official policy and approach to Italian administrative and residential monuments built during the brief Italian occupation of Ethiopia in the period 1936-1941. The paper will specifically discuss the issues of ownership, use, responsibility, and maintenance of individual buildings during the period 1941-1974. My study argues that the administrative need and the urban development of Gondar rather than politics and nationalism had impacted the perception of Italian architectural heritage and the state of preservation of its buildings in Gondar. It does so by examining administrative archives concerned with the Italian buildings which have survived in government offices in the town of Gondar. The paper will also prepare an architectural survey and inventory of the Italian buildings, most of which functioned, and continue to function, as administrative offices, residences, and hotels. This paper will fill up the critical gap that exists in the historiography of the architecture and urban topography of twentieth-century Gondar through the discussion of the hitherto neglected Italian architectural heritage and its transformative impact on the city’s urban landscape and development.  Please contact Girma Tayachew (University of Gondar) at girmata2@gmail.com as well as Dr. Habtamu Tegegne at ht254@newark.rutgers.edu by Wednesday, March 14 if you are interested in forming a panel.