By Laman Ismayilova
A new tactile project – a bronze layout of Icherisheher designed for blind or visually impaired people was presented in Baku.
The project's authors are Cyril Rabat from France and Azerbaijani Suleyman Veliyev, Trend Life reported.
Icherisheher, the pearl at the heart of Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage, has a history of thousands of years and is located in the historic centre of ancient Baku. This unique historic ensemble has been called the Acropolis of Baku, Old City or Inner City. There are hundreds of historical-architectural structures in an area no bigger than 22.5 hectares, surrounded by the fortress walls. Four of them are of international and twenty-eight are of national significance. In 2000, Icherisheher, together with Maiden Tower and the Shirvanshahs’ complex, were added to the World Cultural Heritage list and are being preserved by UNESCO as a historical-architectural reserve.
The newly-developed tactile map will allow visually impaired people to sense Baku`s most visited landmarks, including the Maiden Tower, and even narrow streets. The map is flexible to use.
The unique layout-map was created by German architect Egbert Broadcom, who used the 3D technology. All residential buildings and architectural monuments of the ancient part of Baku have been created with the use of high-tech 3D printing. Braille inscriptions are also present.
Cyril Rabat said that the work on the project lasted two years."I'm living and working in Baku for about 17 years. I’m married to an Azerbaijani woman, I have two children and this project reflects my love and reverence for Azerbaijan,” he said.
“Baku has always been a city of multiculturalism and tolerant values, and Icherisheher is its vivid manifestation. This layout in bronze for the visually impaired is our gift to the city, which became native for me.”
Suleyman Veliev, commenting on the project, said: "There is a stereotype that blind people are very limited in their capabilities. But in fact, they strive to live as you and I, however, do it in the dark. Every day for them is a real test of strength. This project aims at to "show" those people Icherisheher, its history and architecture, about which they heard, but not saw.”
French Ambassador to Azerbaijan Aurelia Bouchez, in turn, stressed that this project is another evidence of strengthening ties between Azerbaijan and France in cultural and social spheres.
Head of the State Historical-Architectural Reserve Icherisheher Asker Askerov stressed that the government creates all the conditions for people with disabilities, and implements various programs and projects.
Today, there is an estimated 180 million people worldwide who are visually disabled. Of these, between 40 and 45 million persons are blind and, by definition, cannot walk about unaided.
There are about 42, 000 visually impaired people in Azerbaijan and 30% of them are children, according to the statistcs.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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