In the late 1980s, the World Bank announced a “holistic approach”1 to development and subsequently turned its attention to cultural heritage as a tool in what it called postconflict reconstruction, nation building, economic development and poverty reduction. The bank considered Eritrea a “natural experiment”2 to test this new approach. In 1993, Eritrea had declared its independence from Ethiopia after decades of violent conflict, making it one of the youngest nation-states on the African continent. A symbol of Eritrea’s newly won sovereignty is its capital, Asmara. Asmara remained virtually undamaged throughout Eritrea’s long struggle for national independence, as well as during another war between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 1998. Largely built under Italian colonialism, the city survives as an ensemble of early-20th-century modern architecture and urban planning.