CITY OF PORTS
Medineo is a fictional city and yet real. This city on the Mediterranean Sea has no defined place and cannot be found on any map. Medineo, which pretends to be new rather than old, could exist almost anywhere on the Mediterranean coast. The individual port may have lost its importance, but the common cultural history still connects all the port cities and guarantees endless change. A universal place for departure and arrival, conflict and cooperation, contrasts and similarities, vision and reality – ready to define the new flexible Mediterranean state of mind.
The Mediterranean has always been a place of exchange, of people, goods and ideas. Its port cities have been important centres in the history of mankind and for European civilisation. The Library of Alexandria was a centre of science, Athens the cradle of democracy and Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire. City states such as Venice were not only born in the Mediterranean, they also dominated global economic networks and enjoyed breathtaking cultural wealth. The Mediterranean was also a spiritual centre and intellectual bridge between the Orient and Occident: Rome and Constantinople (Istanbul) as the home of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Cairo and Damascus as the centres of Islamic teachings.
The history of the Mediterranean is at the same time a history of constant conflicts around the religious and political shifts of power. The freedom of thought and movement was the key to the development and rise of the Mediterranean cities. The independence from the mainland and the lively trade and exchange between them created a climate in which something new could take place in art, culture and science and in which economy and industry could develop. The cities were real havens and new homelands for people of various social, ethnic or religious origins. So far, the mediterranean cities seem to have more in common with each other than with their respective nations. The multi-faceted maritime network of cooperation and interdependence created an invisible inseparable bond beyond the pure economy.
The Mediterranean region has also always provided scope for great utopias. The greatest idea dates back to the 1920s: Atlantropa, the monumental dam project in the Strait of Gibraltar around architect Herman Sörgel. The name of the project also stands for the visionary goal of the project, to form a continuous continent from today‘s Europe and Africa, connected by a Mediterranean Sea lowered to 200 meters. Atlantropa should solve several problems at the same time. It should gain valuable new ground for the growing cities, create living space and jobs and supply electrical energy for the whole of Europe. Many renowned architects and industrialists were part of the Atlantropa movement, which ended with the death of Sörgel in 1952.
Medineo combines and exchanges elements of the idea of Atlantopa with the everyday reality of the up-and-coming Mediterranean metropolises, which are growing more and more into a single megalopolis.