City of Miami Beach Proclaimed Sep 27, 2017 Asmara Heritage Day

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The Mayor and Commissioners of the City of Miami Beach proclaimed Sep 27, 2017 as Asmara Heritage Day in the City of Miami Beach.

The Mayor and Commissioners of the City of Miami Beach have proclaimed September 27, 2017, to be Asmara Heritage Day in the City of Miami Beach in recognition of the city’s brand new status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The announcement was made in a special event organized by the Miami Design Preservation League at the Art Deco Welcome Center.

One of the Commissioners, Ms. Kristen Gonzalez, presented the signed proclamation to Mr. Dawit Haile.

Introduction and presentation about the city of Asmara were made by members of the Eritrean Community, promoter Christoph Melchers and Naigzy Gebremedhin, former Director of Cultural Assets Rehabilitation Project of Eritrea and co-author of Asmara – Africa’s Secret Modernist City.

The full text of the proclamation is below:


Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, has been designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural organization, and is sometimes called “Africa’s Miami” because of its many Art Deco buildings. The city flourished when Eritrea was an Italian colony, from 1889 until World War II, and it became a paradise for Italian architects, who could try out their boldest ideas there. In the 1930s nearly half of Asmara’s residents were Italian immigrants, earning the capital another nickname, “Little Roma” and,


UNESCO called the city “an exceptional example of early modernist urbanism at the beginning of the 20th century and its application in an African context.” The Asmara Heritage Project worked diligently over many years for Asmara to join the World Heritage list, which recognizes sites that have cultural, historical, or social significance. The city’s Modernist buildings include an Art Deco bowling alley and the Fiat Tagliero building, a service station like an airplane. The bar Zilli building looks like an old-fashioned radio set, with windows like turning buttons. The city’s numerous cinemas, including the Impero, Odeon, and Catpitol, recall an era of cosmopolitan elegance, and its great public spaces, like the Man Jah Jah fountain and Harnet Avenue, are a model of walkable city.


Today, Miami Beach is the home to one of the largest concentration of Art Deco in the world, and Miami Beach with the Miami Design Preservation League work tirelessly to protect, promote and preserve its Art Deco and historic architecture. “Asmara: Africa’s Secret Modernist City” will be on exhibit at the Art Deco Welcome Centre from September 12th thru December 31st, 2017.

NOW THEREFORE, DO We, as Mayor and Commissioners of the City of Miami Beach, hereby proclaim September 27, 2017, Asmara Heritage Day in the City of Miami Beach.

Signed by:

Mayor Philip Levine, Vice Mayor Ricky Arriola,

Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, Commissioner John E. Alemán, Commissioner Michael C. Grieco, Commissioner Joy V.W. Malakoff, and Commissioner Micky Steinberg