The Registry's Benefits and Uses

The Riwaq’s Registry of Historic Buildings is a national asset that even some advanced countries do not have. Some countries have registries that date back a century, but these are in manuscript format and are hard to use, and computerizing them has been hampered by labor and other expenses. By using modern documentation technologies, we were able to save valuable time and effort. Now that Riwaq’s Registry is almost finished, we can identify the following benefits:


1.      Scientific research: The Registry is scientific documentation that has a wealth of information for researchers in history, architecture, sociology, economics, and art. This information provides an important part of the cultural history of the Palestinian society, its ways of interaction with the surrounding environment, various building materials, the architectural vocational development, and so on.

2.      Urban planning and managing the historic sites: Riwaq’s Registry includes a gold mine of information for any planner preparing a master plan for any town or village in Palestine. Its database can be used to manage the historic sites. Indeed, the Registry has a detailed data to, which can help protecting cultural assets in general and particularly historic old towns. No master plan of any town or village should be formulated without consulting the Registry. It also contains information about the structural and physical status of these assets, their exact location, the forms of dominant properties, and so on. Information in the Registry can form the basis of a process of informing local councils and owners of the architectural heritage they have, so that the circle of interest can be widened, and local councils can get involved in protecting the heritage. Those responsible for development, as well as the private sector can also be directed towards organized investment in some of the historic sites in a way that would protect and preserve them.

3.      Social and economic development: The Registry provides a guide to the investment opportunities in the cultural heritage field.

4.      Documentation: It became obvious through the experience of the past years that the Riwaq’s Registry has become a historic document, especially for buildings that were destroyed. Often, the Registry served as the sole resource, particularly since every building was documented by also a photograph. Few architectural heritage maps that can be used for tourism or other purposes are being produced in Palestine.

5.      Provision of cultural heritage maps: There are no maps available for most of towns and villages in Palestine. The map prepared by Riwaq staff is the only map of building locations that is available. It can be used for various purposes by official and other institutions.

6.      Housing: Those seeking solutions to the housing problem in Palestine can use this Riwaq’s Registry to turn deserted historic buildings into habitable houses. The Registry shows more than 18,000 deserted buildings, many of which can be renovated have amenities similar to modern houses. Such renovations simultaneously serve more than one objective, including the protection of cultural assets, the protection and development of Palestinian rural areas, and the ease of pressure on land use.

Legislation: The Registry’s database consists of a general inventory, which guides the competent parties at the institution (governmental and non-governmental) responsible, according to the proposed Law of, for the heritage in preparing the “List of Preliminary Registration” as a step toward including the heritage in a “National Registry”. The Registry produced by Riwaq can also be considered a data reference in classifying historic buildings and defining the level of their importance according to the law.