New tech­nol­ogy al­low­ing the blind to ‘see’ Icher­ishe­her

Azer News - - Country Guide - By Laman Is­may­ilova

Anew 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.

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