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Childhood memories from Nazareth, created a project that's all about longing

As a child, the city market in Nazareth took center stage in the life of Rasha Mansour, a graduate of the interior design department at the Faculty of Design, who won the second place in the international competition INSPIRELI AWARDS - archicad, on her project "Zakariyat Al Nasra" - Community Cultural Center in the city of Nazareth.

תמונה של רשא מנסור
Rasha Mansour, a graduate of the interior design department at the Faculty of Design

The "Zakriyat Al Nasra" project, under the direction of architect Yoram Nidam, is a community cultural center in the old city market that preserves the memory of generations in the city of Nazareth, with the aim of reviving the market by connecting tradition and culture with the younger generation, along with modern design.

Rasha, a native of Nazareth, says that the city market occupied a central place in the lives of the residents at the time and for her was a place where she spent a considerable part of her childhood. "My grandmother and my mother lived in the market and both were central and significant figures in my life and thanks to them the market also became an important place. Over the years and various events the market was neglected and today the area stands desolate and has become a no-man's land.

"The market area for me is saturated with smells, tastes and sounds of my childhood and when I thought about the project it was clear to me that it would focus on this area," says Rasha. "I long for my hometown as it was, for its design treasures and I want to find a way to preserve the place's unique Ottoman design".

I started searching and researching its history and the reason why the market, that was once a major point of trade and economic prosperity, was abandoned, and I tried to find a solution".

There are some collective memories for a city where each memory depends on the previous one, and it starts with who we are? And how did we get here? What is our culture? And what religion and language does the city display? All of these questions were a starting point for thinking about a project. One of the things that can help us remember and present some of the important history is the structure of the market, the floor, stones and the division of the windows, all of which are different from the current situation and can help convey the forms of the past.

The city of Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel, with a glorious and religiously important history. The new generation for the most part does not know the culture and history of the city. "The purpose of my project is to motivate the activation of memory culturally and historically in order to remind the beautiful past of the city of Nazareth which is what defines us in the present and will define us in the future. So each new generation can remember and know the history of Nazareth clearly and accurately.

The name chosen by Rasha for the project is "Cultural Memory" which aims at finding methods to preserve and learn from the memory, inspired by Christian Arab culture, through traditional Arab food and valuable objects and historical story. The place will offer functions of entertainment and historical recognition such as: theater, gallery, and cafes in the spirit of culture. "My motivation was to tell the story of Nazareth of yesteryear from my grandmother and mother' point of view. I wanted to emphasize that Nazareth is the cradle of Christianity, full of holy places and pass on some of its glorious history to the younger generation, with the help of restoration and redesign of these central places".

Simulation for a small theater Simulation for a gallery Simulation for a big theater Simulation for a Coffee shop Nazareth atmosphere collage

Posted: 26/10/2021