Riwaq is a nonprofit organisation established in 1991 in Ramallah with the main aim to document, rehabilitate and develop the architectural heritage of Palestine protecting all layers, styles and remains of all periods and civilisations that once existed in the country. Their programs are diverse and flexible in their approaches of how to revive relationships between people and their built heritage, which is mostly neglected.
The Riwaq Biennale was initiated aiming at the revitalisation of historic centres of 50 towns and villages throughout Palestine. It is structured around curated site visits, gatherings and projects in the Palestinian territories, organised in partnership with local institutions and communities.
The various strata tell us the story of the rich, varied and complex identity of Palestine, they also negate the ‘purity’ of the politically charged one-layer identity. This approach means the protection of not only noble architectural and religious sites, but also the valuable and varied urban, peasant and nomad architecture. The main objective is to convince the public at large, and decision makers in particular, that historic buildings and historic centres are an important tool for socio-economic- political development rather than as a liability.