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Kolkata’s Tiretta Bazaar, called ‘India’s First Chinatown’, among World Monuments Watch list for 2022

The bazaar is understood to be named after one Edward Tiretta, who was an Italian immigrant from Venice

Tiretta Bazaar, Tiretta Bazaar in Kolkata, India’s First Chinatown, World Monuments Watch list for 2022, indian express newsThe community living here is marginalised and the heritage is at risk. It was once home to 20,000 Chinese nationals, a number that has dwindled over the years. (Photo: Instagram/@sohini_pyne)

While there is no dearth of heritage structures in India that are of cultural significance, there are some that need immediate attention and preservation. Among them, is the Tiretta Bazaar, a neighborhood in Kolkata, which is also called the Old China Market. The place has been identified and included in the World Monuments Watch list for 2022.

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According to World Monuments Fund (WMF), this year’s Watch “spotlights 25 heritage sites of extraordinary significance, facing pressing challenges, and where World Monuments Fund’s partnership with local communities has the potential to make a meaningful difference”.

It took to Instagram to announce that the 2022 Watch represents “24 countries and 12,000 years of history”, calling for “greater and urgent action to protect heritage places experiencing pressures relating to climate change, imbalanced tourism, underrepresentation, and recovery from crisis”.

Tiretta Bazaar: About the place

This place is called India’s First Chinatown, and it began to assume “a Chinese identity” in the 18th century when Chinese sailors on Indo-China trade routes settled here and established their own rituals, traditions, architectural style, etc.

Interestingly, the bazaar is understood to be named after one Edward Tiretta, who was an Italian immigrant from Venice, a land surveyor who owned the area in the 18th century. Locals will vouch for the fact that Tiretta — the center of Chinese settlement in the city — is an important cultural, food, and shopping destination.

The reason for it being included in the list is perhaps the fact that the community living here is marginalised and the heritage is at risk. It was once home to 20,000 Chinese nationals, a number that has dwindled over the years.

C R Avenue and Rabindra Sarani pass through this area from north to south, and Bipin Behari Ganguly Street and Kshirode Vidyavinode Avenue run from east to west.

WMF explained that the Watch is a “nomination-based process” that “galvanizes individuals, communities, and leaders from across the public and private sectors to come together around global issues affecting heritage sites and sets the future direction of WMF’s field work”. While the organisation is headquartered in New York City, it has offices and affiliates in Cambodia, India, Peru, Portugal, Spain and the UK.

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Other endangered places included this year are: Tomb of Jahangir, Lahore, Pakistan; Mosque City of Bagerhat, Bagerhat, Bangladesh; Abydos, Egypt; Benghazi historic city center, Libya; Garcia Pasture, Brownsville, Texas, United States; Africatown, Mobile, Alabama, United States; Hurst Castle, Hampshire, United Kingdom; Heritage buildings of Beirut, Lebanon, to name a few.

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First published on: 02-03-2022 at 06:20:04 pm
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