Restoration of Al Qasr Islamic Village in New Valley

Al Qasr SFD
The beauty of Islamic monuments appears on the walls at Al Qasr Islamic Village. UNDP/Heewoong Kim

Al Qasr Islamic Village is a picturesque village with narrow alleyways, distinctive mud-brick adjoining buildings and enchanting Islamic monuments built during the Ottoman period (1516-1798) as the traditional capital of the Dakhla Oasis in New Valley Governorate. It constitutes an important landmark of Egypt’s cultural heritage but unfortunately many of the traditional structures and monuments have not withstood the test of time and are in need of major restoration.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Social Fund for Development (SFD) and with the generous financial support from the Government of Japan has completed the restoration of key landmark buildings and monuments in the village. The approach aimed to preserve historic heritage whilst training and providing jobs for young unemployed people. As a result, the project trained 120 local youths on rehabilitation of ancient building techniques. It created a total of 39,755 work/days in restoring seven historic buildings, which were rehabilitated under the guidance of the Ministry of Antiquities and in cooperation with the New Valley Governorate. The project also published an extensive manual on the restoration procedures and history of the village to support tourism and further restoration efforts.

On 21 July, the Minister of Antiquities visited Al Qasr Village to promote its restoration to the media. The visit was together with Members of the Parliament’s Media, Culture and Antiquities Committee, the New Valley Governor and representatives from UNDP and the Embassy of Japan.

The Al Qasr village restoration project was conducted as part of UNDP and SFD’s partnership to promote ‘Employment Creation in Innovative Public Works’ for poor and rural villages throughout Egypt. The project has created a total of 913,228 work/days in over 11 Governorates, based on a total of $16.1 million in support from the Government of Japan between 2012 and 2015.

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