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People of a Saudi village mourn death of German architect Hanke
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 07 - 07 - 2020

RIYADH — Christopher Hanke, a German architect and researcher, who played a key role in the architectural design of the Najdi heritage village of Sidus, located northwest of Riyadh, died at the age of 91 on Monday.
Hanke loved the place as well as the customs and traditions of its people and presented all possible visions in the planning and engineering of the village and its buildings. He excelled in planning all details of the village and prepared an unprecedented study on the village building system and its link to the religious, political, and social situation of Najd. Hanke did his Ph.D. research about this village, titled "Sidus: a model Najd village in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," and obtained a doctorate from the University of Kaiserslautern in 2004.
Faisal Bin Muammar, founding secretary-general of the King Abdullah International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue and the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, expressed deep sorrow over the demise of Hanke, saying: "The entire people of Sidus and I came to know about the news of the death of Hanke with sorrow and grief.
He played a remarkable role and rendered outstanding contributions in the architectural design of the village of Sidus as well as in the preservation of its antiquities and heritage."
We remember his valuable research and its implications as well as his expertise, sincerity, dedication and great services to the architectural heritage of the Najd region in general and the village of Sidus in particular," he said while offering deepest condolences to Hanke's bereaved family.
Going down memory lane, Bin Muammar noted that Hanke began the journey of his academic work in 1981 when arrived in Saudi Arabia to work in some areas related to the development process of the Kingdom. He completed a study on the village of Sidus that included many buildings, dating back to 18th century and their designs that reflected the village's religious social implications.
"In the beginning of his scientific journey, Hanke met with my father Sheikh Abdul Rahman Bin Ibrahim Bin Muammar, emir of Sidus, who provided him with everything that was beneficial for his research and historical information," he recalled.
Bin Muammar spoke about his relationship with Hanke that started in 1982 and continued until the German engineer finished his studies and obtained his doctorate at the age of 70. Hanke, who was proud of Saudi Arabia and the village of Sidus, was keen to visit it periodically after the end of his mission, and he remained closely connected with the village and its people.
Hanke's studies and research were published in two volumes in German and they were later translated into Arabic with the support of Arriyadh Development Authority. The village of Sidus intends to allocate a special pavilion named after Hanke in appreciation of his research work and his love for the village and its people.

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