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UNESCO and Italy announce the completion of the project for the rehabilitation and valorization of the Qadisha Valley

UNESCO and Italy announced the completion of the project for the rehabilitation and valorization of the Qadisha Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. The UNESCO project was supported by Italy through a €500.000 funding from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).

Within the project, three historic trails suffering from degradation in the villages of Hadchit, Hasroun and Mazraat El Nahr were rehabilitated as well as the monasteries of Mar Assia and Deir Es-Salib with their outstanding mural paintings restored, the churches of Mar Bahnam, Mar Antonios and Mart Shmouni. Training of members of the local communities on preventive measures to avoid and combat forest fires in the Qadisha Valley took place as well as the training of local youth guides specialized in the site.

“It is a meaningful achievement that we are celebrating. I want to thank all the stakeholders which have made this possible”, said the ambassador of Italy to Lebanon Nicoletta Bombardiere. “That is the completion of a project financed by the Italian cooperation Agency and executed by UNESCO, in coordination with the Ministry of Culture, the Maronite Patriarcate and the Union of Municipalities of Besharre. The project entailed the recovery of several hiking trails in the valley, while at the same time restoring heritage monuments and archeological and religious sites and disseminating know-how related to restoration techniques to local Lebanese experts.”

The rehabilitated monasteries in the valley were officially recognized and included in the national map of religious tourism in Lebanon, during a ceremony held in the Mar Romanos Parish Hall in the town of Hadchit, under the patronage and in the presence of the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, the Minister of Culture Mohammad Mourtada, the Minister of Tourism Walid Nassar, the Ambassador of Italy to Lebanon Nicoletta Bombardiere, the Director of AICS Beirut Alessandra Piermattei, the Director of the UNESCO Regional Office in Beirut Costanza Farina with the UNESCO Beirut team.

A UNESCO documentary titled “Qadisha, On the paths of history”, detailed the importance of the site focusing on the project added value.