The Cities of the ITP Global Network for World Cities Day!

Thursday 31st October 2019 is World Cities Day!

It’s a day designated by the United Nations which aims to promote cooperation between countries and international communities in meeting opportunities of urbanisation.

In the spirit of ‘international community’ some of the ITP global network have got in touch to tell us about their home cities!

Thank you to all of the contributors! Read on to learn about some of the places our ITP fellows live around the world.

Giza, Egypt

By Wesam Mohamed, PhD Fellow, Aarhus University (Egypt, ITP 2015)

My city is Giza, Egypt!

It’s one of the most famous cities in the world, known as the home of the Great Pyramids; one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. This iconic symbol for my city became a symbol for the entire ancient Egyptian civilization.

My city is more than 7000 years old, and it was the first capital of ancient Egypt. Giza has always been in the heart of Egypt’s history and civilization. The richness of its exceptional cultural heritage is out of this world.

Guwahati, India

By Namrata Sarmah, Project Curator, Directorate of Museums, Assam (India, ITP 2018)

The name Guwahati is derived from the words guwa (Areca nut) and hati (bazaar), alluding to the city’s pre-modern economic function. Areca nuts still dominate the city’s landscape like anywhere in tropical Asia. Its undulating terrain is dotted with Areca Palms, with Areca nut vendors crowding the busy pavements, and many of its a million inhabitants accustomed to the custom of chewing the nut as a stimulant.

Guwahati is currently the provincial seat of government for state of Assam. Due to its location at the edge of the eastern Himalayas, Assam is endowed with ethnic and cultural borrowings from both the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asia. This diversity is reflected in the city’s demographics. Along with the indigenous peoples speaking dozens of Indo-Aryan and Tibeto-Burmese languages, Guwahati’s residents now include migrants from all over India. This diversity has developed a spontaneous culture of tolerance, as well as an immense variety of cultural choices for its inhabitants.

The liberalisation of the Indian economy since the 1990s has compounded these choices – with foreign food chains existing parallel to traditional rice-meat-herbs based cuisines, multinational outlets existing next to flea markets, and the latest trends in fashion coinciding with a rejuvenated appreciation for local textiles. The city has now been projected as India’s gateway to South-East Asia, with its industrial sector diversifying from earlier concentration on petroleum, tea and silk.

Alexandria, Egypt

By Rana Ramadan, Curator, Graeco-Roman Museum (Egypt, ITP 2018)

My city is Alexandria, which is considered a unique cities for of its fame and glory. It was founded in c.333 BC. by Alexander the Great as the capital of Egypt.

Alexandria’s hallmarks are the Lighthouse which is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Some of its remains are still resting under the Mediterranean sea. The Great Library of Alexandria is the most famous library of Classical antiquity. It formed part of the research institute at Alexandria that is known as the Alexandrian Museum.

There are many tales about this precious city; it will always be called the ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean.’

Seiyun, Yemen

By Saeed Obaid Ba Yashoot, Documentation Collections Curator, Seiyun Museum (Yemen, ITP 2016).

Seiyun is my home town, the second largest city in the southeastern province of Hadhramout, Yemen. The city well known for the Kathiri Sultan’s palace. Across from the Sultan’s palace is the old market place, Suq, which serves the nearby towns.

It is an agricultural town and has developed to become a political and economic capital of Hadhramout Valley. The city is decorative – gardeners clip shrubs at thoroughfares into the shapes of pyramids, teapots, hearts and doves.

At the centre of the Hadhramout Valley, Seiyun has embraced Yemeni people who have escaped the devastating civil war.

Lucknow, India

By Shubha Banerji, Education Officer, President House Museum (India, ITP 2014)

Lucknow is the city which is a second home to me. 20 years ago, I arrived in this city as a young bride and since then I am absolutely charmed by Lucknow. As I was a student of history, the rich cultural and artistic heritage of Lucknow which dates back centuries fascinated me completely.

Let me share some basic facts about this charming city. Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, was historically known as the Awadh region. Fondly known as “The City of Nawabs “or the “City of Tehzeeb”. This city has a softness which is evident in the polite mannerisms of its people. This city has developed a refined genre of music, fine cuisine and poetry (shayri) due to the patronage of Nawabs of the city. The city has been given various other names such as ‘The Constantinople of India,’ Shiraz –i- Hind and Golden City of the East.

The Bara Imamabra is a major landmark of the city. This complex was built between 1785 and 1791 by Asaf-ud – Daula, the Nawab of Awadh. This complex is an elegant structure and is a mix of Rajput and Mughal architecture. The Imamabara is a pillared hall where Shia Muslims come together on various occasions for prayers particularly on the occasion of Moharram.

There could be no better way to end the tale of my city without mentioning the delectable kebabs made here. Food connoisseurs agree wholeheartedly that Lucknow and kebabs are synonymous with each other. The most mouth-watering kababs at Tunday Kababi are made from Haji Murad Ali’s 1905 secret recipe and is part of the rich culinary heritage of this city.

Brighton, England

By Claire Messenger (ITP Manager)

Brighton and Hove is a seaside city in East Sussex in South East England. The history of Brighton is that of an ancient fishing village which emerged as a health resort – when doctors claimed that bathing in seawater was good for a person’s health – in the 18th century and grew into one of the largest towns in England by the 20th century.

Today, the economy of the city is service-based with a strong emphasis on creative, digital and electronic technologies and tourism and entertainment. From iconic tourist attractions to beachfront cool, Brighton is a treasure trove of things to do and places to see, including Regency architecture and Victorian aquariums to Brighton Pier, the West Pier arches and the beach.

I’m enormously proud to call Brighton (and Hove) my home city – it’s quirky, brilliant, crazy, tolerant and original. Since 2010 the constituency of Brighton Pavilion (where I live) has been the only one in the UK to have a Green Party Member of Parliament. With rainbow flags flying proudly in Brighton, arguably the LGBTQ capital of the UK, the city has become synonymous with a commitment to tolerance and diversity for residents and visitors alike.

Makati City, Philippines

By Aprille Tijam, Senior Manager for Exhibitions and Collections, Ayala Museum (Philippines, ITP 2019)

I have lived in Makati City, Philippines, since 1989. Having lived in this city since my mid-teens, I have seen it transform, flourish and reign as the business capital of the greater Metro Manila.

It is where skyscrapers dominate the landscape and where most headquarters of renowned local and international businesses hold offices. One can find multinational companies, international banks, business process outsourcing hubs, malls, department stores, hotels, restaurants, two private museums (including Ayala Museum), and art galleries.

Every Sunday, the parking lot in my neighborhood is transformed into the Legaspi Sunday Market selling food of all kinds. local and foreign food, dry goods, local products and crafts from Philippine indigenous groups. A small bookshelf offers a “take one, leave one book” programme for the community. People come far and wide to enjoy this market’s fares.

These are just a few of the multitude of things and experiences one can enjoy in my city. There’s always something to discover. And that’s why, I choose to call it my home. 

Patna, India

By Vishi Upadhyay, Curatorial Associate, Bihar Museum (India, ITP 2019)

Patna also known as Pataliputra is the capital and largest city of the state of Bihar in India. One of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world Patna was founded in c. 3rd century BC by the king of Magadha.

The Buddhist, Hindu and Jain pilgrimage centres of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodh Gaya and Pawapuri are nearby and Patna City is also a sacred city for Sikhs as the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh was born here.

Modern Patna has been accumulating many strongholds of cultural identity. There is the Bihar Museum (the biggest museum of South Asia), Patna museum (100 years old), Gandhi Convention Centre, and many more.

Asyut, Egypt

By Nagwa Bakr, Community Engagement Officer, Ministry of Antiquities (Egypt, ITP 2019)

Asyut belongs to Middle Upper Egypt; it has one of the largest Coptic Catholic bishopric churches in Egypt.

Asyut was the capital of the Thirteenth Nome of Ancient Egypt. Wepwawt (wolf) was the funerary deity of ancient Asyut. The people of Asyut still tell myths about wolves and jackals today. The city was the major centre for commercial convoys heading to the western desert through Darb Al Arbaeen road that connects to Darfur, Sudan.

Asyut was the inspiration for my studies. When I was young I read a book about Badarian culture from prehistory. In this moment I decided to study history. Moreover, Asyut inspired my fieldwork with the local community about heritage which was part of my masters studies.