The Saint Hilarion Monastery in Gaza must be saved


Première Urgence Internationale has had a presence in the Gaza Strip since 2009. The teams contribute to rehabilitate two heritage sites in the Gaza Strip: the Saint Hilarion Monastery and a Byzantine Church in Jabaliyah. They are in danger of disappearing.

The Saint Hilarion Monastery and the Church at Jabaliyah

The Saint Hilarion Monastery must be saved. This monument, historical and cultural symbol for Gazan people are in danger of disappearing”, explains Jehad Abu Hassan, project coordinator of the project. The Saint Hilarion Monastery is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in the Middle East of which substantial remains still survive.

The site is one of the few cultural heritage resources in Gaza to beregularly used by local people. Another monument which is threatened: the large Byzantine Church at Jabaliyah which was first uncovered in 1996 and has been damaged by airstrikes and the passage of tanks across its remarkable mosaic pavements in recent years. In addition to this recent damage, both sites are threatened by the risk of a potential escalation in conflict.

Restoring built heritage in Gaza

In this 26-month project, the Saint Hilarion Monastery and a Byzantine Church in Jabaliyah will be rehabilitated and protected from potential future damage, thanks to the creation of protective roofs and walls.

As well as conservation work, comprehensive on-site training will also be offered to local artisans and students of archaeology and architecture from two universities in Gaza. Targeted sessions will also be offered to local school groups and families to increase awareness and engagement with the two sites.

The project is funded by the British Council in partnership with Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

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