Thursday, May 27, 2004

Chaldean center boasts of rich culture and history

$23 million site opens in Dec. in West Bloomfield

By Jennifer Chambers / The Detroit News

WEST BLOOMFIELD � Adhid Yousif Miri studies the entrance of the new Chaldean Community Cultural Center and sees his ancient homeland of Iraq.


The focus of the community center will be its art gallery, museum and cultural center and a banquet hall that seats 750.

Association officials are collecting pieces of Chaldean art by working with scholars and historians from around the world and members of the Chaldean community who may have pieces packed away in their homes. Part of the center�s mission is to acquire, exhibit and serve as a permanent home for the artwork.

Museum organizers hope to reproduce part of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and craft a time line of the entire 5,000-year history of the Chaldean people.

Rosemary Antone, chairwoman of the center, is actively negotiating with the Berlin Museum, the Louvre in Paris, the Detroit Institute of Arts and Cranbrook to acquire artifacts or copies of artifacts for the center.


The lower level of the building will contain a gymnasium, where youngsters and adults can play basketball or soccer and swim in an outdoor pool, and classrooms where people can learn to read, write and speak Aramaic, the oldest continuously spoken language in the world.

�With what�s going on in Iraq, it is a language that may become extinct,� Manna said. �We are trying to do everything to preserve it. We have a lot of people who are here now who still speak it.�


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