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DOCUMENTATION AND CONSERVATION STATUS OF BETE MULU CASTLE IN WELQAIT, WESTERN TIGRAY [Abstract ID: 0102-04]
This study presents the documentation and conservation status of Bete Mulu Castle in Welqait district, Ethiopia. This castle is found in a bad conservation state from various problems, both natural and anthropogenic. The government of Ethiopia, as part of its Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), has launched several large development projects which are apparently being carried out or in the planning phases. Subsequently, the implementation of these large developmental projects has contributed for regions or localities to experience modern development projects which consequently alter the cultural landscapes and the age-long livelihood of the local people. Among many areas that are being opened up for development is Western Tigray, in general, and Welqait district, in particular, is an area for the establishment of commercial plantation of sugar and oil seed. While this huge project brings its own opportunities, on the other hand it brings challenges to the conservation of archaeological and historical heritage sites in the area, in general, and Bete Mulu Castle, in particular. As a result, this study was intended to identify and discuss the castle's historical context, its current condition and factors affecting it, its architectural design, and finally, the conservation and management aspects of the castle. While studying about historic buildings various approaches could be employed. Qualitative study, as one of the approaches in social sciences, was used. The data were collected using interviews, field observation, and secondary data were used to supplement the survey data. Based on the findings of the castle's architectural design analysis, the study gave a glimpse and attempted to bring light on the correlation of its design and location with other buildings in the country, and politics during the period. The management aspect of the study was also carried out. Similarly, the possible required conservation activities have been studied and a possible recommendation is forwarded.