Order of Malta Kenya

Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta

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Asmara Architecture Exhibition - “Asmara – Africa’s Secret Modernist City”

Apr 25, 2017

A unique exhibition was hosted at the Embassy of the Order of Malta from 7th to 9th April 2017 to assist in collecting signatures in support of Eritrea’s application to have Asmara inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Order’s Chargé d’Affaires, Dr. Franco De Paoli, addressed words of welcome to  Diplomatic Heads of Mission, Representatives of International Organizations, Architects, members of the Media, well-wishers and supporters.  He then officially introduced the Guest of Honour, H.E. Beyene Russom, Ambassador of the State of Eritrea, who delivered his speech. After having thanked H.E. the Ambassador of Eritrea for his words and for highlighting the fact that “Ambassador Franco”, and his daughter, were born and lived in Asmara for many years, Dr. De Paoli respectfully reminded the audience that he was just the Chargé D’Affaires and that Ambassador Russom had been too kind, in his friendly way, to address him as Ambassador.  He then gave the floor to Architect Christoph Melchers, the exhibition coordinator, who entertained the audience with his professional eloquence.

The turnout at the event was most encouraging and as a result over 130 signatures were collected, with more still coming!

This same exhibition, which has been presented since 2006, is based on the book “Asmara – Africa’s Secret Modernist City” by Edward Denison, Gunag Yu Ren & Naigzy Gebremedhin.

The Embassy of the Order offered the perfect cultural environment for an exhibition of this nature and indeed the initiators & organizers, namely the Project Group “4Asmara – Arbate Asmera”, said that this had been the best venue ever!  Visitors to the exhibition were able to view the exquisite photographs in total serenity and at the same time sample delicious Eritrean food and experience the taste of freshly brewed traditional coffee.  The spouse of the Chargé d’Affaires, Mrs. Marinella De Paoli, as always, excelled herself in the preparatory and logistic details of the exhibition creating an elegant, artistic and welcoming setting. She even succeeded in keeping the rain away for the few hours that mattered!

We sincerely hope and wish that the beauty, variety and unique magnitude of the complex of buildings in Asmara receives its well-deserved recognition and that its national heritage is elevated to a World Heritage Site.