In 1994, RIWAQ initiated a large-scale project to register historic buildings across Palestine. The registry project addresses one of the most endangered components of Palestinian cultural heritage and encompasses the cultural, natural, and architectural heritage of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza. A vital contribution, RIWAQ’s Registry of Historic Buildings is perceived as the first step in the long process of safeguarding Palestinian cultural and natural heritage.
Although the British, Jordanians, Israelis, and Palestinians have carried out several surveys of archaeological sites in Palestine, this project provides the first complete inventory of historic buildings in the West Bank & Gaza. The registry is an encyclopedia of architectural information on 50,320 historic buildings in 422 Palestinian localities; sixteen major cities, including East Jerusalem, and 406 villages throughout the eleven governorates in the West Bank and five governorates in Gaza.
The Registry of Historic Buildings has been of great help in defining the priorities for RIWAQ’s rehabilitation projects on a national scale. Through statistics provided by the registry, RIWAQ designated the 50 most significant historic towns in Palestine (with a high number of historic buildings) as part of the national emergency protection and revitalization program.