NNA - The Ministry of Culture/ Directorate General of Antiquities, The Council for Development and Reconstruction, the Embassy of Italy in Beirut, the World Bank and the Municipality of Tyre launched today the start-up of the archaeological works for the Program "Cultural Heritage and Urban Development - CHUD", an initiative jointly funded by the World Bank, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Italian Development Cooperation, the Agence Fran?aise de D?veloppement and the Council for Development and Reconstruction.
The Minister of Culture, H.E. Mr. Raymond Areiji, The President of the Council for Development and Reconstruction, H.E. Eng. Nabil El Jisr, the Ambassador of Italy, H.E. Mr. Giuseppe Morabito, the Middle East Director of World Bank, Mr Ferid Belhaj and the President of the Municipality of Tyre, Eng. Hassan Dbouk launched today, within the framework of the Program Cultural Heritage and Urban Development - CHUD, the start-up of the archaeological works for 'Baalbeck and Tyre Archaeological Project - BTAP" for the consolidation, restoration and valorisation of the archaeological sites of Al Al Madina and Al Bass in Tyre and Baalbeck Al Qalaa, jointly funded by the World Bank and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Italian Development Cooperation.
The ceremony took place on June 6, at 11.00 am at the premises of Al Bass Archaeological Site in Tyre, in the presence of the representatives of the Ministry of Culture - Directorate General of Antiquities, of the Council for Development and Reconstruction, representatives of the World Bank, of the Embassy of Italy in Beirut/Italian Development Cooperation, and members of the Parliament and of Tyre Municipality Council.
The Cultural Heritage and Urban Development - CHUD Program, with an overall amount of nearly 120.00 million US Dollar (87 million Euro, out of which 10.80 million Euro provided by Italy) is a multi-donor initiative that aims at protecting the cultural heritage and the historical architectures in the urban areas of Baalbeck, Saida, Tyre, Tripoli and Byblos. The three main donors (World Bank; Agence Fran?aise de D?veloppement; Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Italian Development Cooperation) together with the Government of Lebanon - Council for Development and Reconstruction, contribute to the implementation of infrastructures of social benefit, archaeological conservation projects, re-utilization and re-qualification of historical buildings in urban environment as well as to the institutional strengthening of the Directorate General for Urban Planning and Directorate General of Antiquities.
The Minister of Culture, H.E. Mr. Raymond Araygi expressed his deepest gratitude to the Italian Government and the World Bank explained the project which includes the following components:
1. Conservation of Archaeological Structures: These works aim at consolidating the standing archaeological structures, comprising: erection of special scaffoldings, capping of upper layers, integrating specific fibers in order to strengthen weak parts of historical buildings, changing of decayed stones, pointing of some walls' elevations, consolidation of masonry, etc. In Tyre, the main actions shall address problems in: a- Tyre city site: the Arena, the Palestra, the colonnade, the roman baths; and b- Tyre Bass site: the Roman arch, the Monumental tomb, the Columbarium, the church with garden.
2. Conservation of Archaeological Surfaces: These works comprise the conservation of surfaces (stones, mosaics, frescoes, decorated surfaces etc.) and the treatment of the causes of decay (rain water drainage and roofing). In Tyre, the main actions shall address problems in: a- Tyre city site: the mosaics of the "grande all?e", some parts of the roman baths; and b- Tyre Bass site: the Roman arch, the Monumental tomb, the Columbarium, the church with garden.
In a second phase the works will include Archaeological conservation: The works aim to consolidate decayed archaeological layers, restore some significant parts, and backfill the layers that are weakening the archaeological monuments. In Tyre, the main actions shall address: a- Tyre city site: the Arena, the Palestra, the Latrinae, the roman baths; and b- Tyre Bass site: the Apollo Shrine, the Beneton baths.
1. Presentation to visitors: Two main actions are foreseen in this regard: a- The development of the tourists circuits (for both sites) in the state of the art manner (with signage, panels, and other presentation tools); and b- The development of the future Tyre Museum in the Bass site.
The Director of the Italian Cooperation, Eng. Guido Benevento remarked in his speech that the "CHUD Program was and still is a pioneering initiative for Lebanon: through the specificity of each donor, the Program is providing to the Government of Lebanon the funds and technical assistance needed to properly valorise the tremendous archaeological assets of this Country, to adequately target the needs for a more balanced and socially equal urban development, to enable the sustainable re-use of historical monuments for the benefit of the citizens of Tyre, Baalbeck, Saida, Tripoli and Byblos."
The President of the Council for Development and Reconstruction, H.E. Nabil El Jisr, during his speech, also emphasized how "CHUD Program with similar interventions in Tyre, Saida, Baalbeck, Tripoli and Byblos can duly be considered as pilot projects to be easily replicated in other cities of Lebanon having similar historical and artistic potentials. Tourism, culture and economical development can go hand in hand, play a significant role in the improvement of local economy in Tyre and at national scale".
Within the CHUD Program, the "Baalbeck and Tyre Archaeological Project - BTAP" funded by the World Bank with an amount of 8 million Euro and by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Italian Development Cooperation with an amount of more than 4 million Euro will carry out consolidation, conservation and restoration works in the UNESCO sites of Al Mina and Al Bass (Tyre) and in the Citadel of Baalbeck (Al Qalaa).
The specific interventions that will be executed in these sites will provide the proper restoration of some of the most significant and representative landmarks of Lebanon such as the Bacchus and Jupiter Temples in Baalbeck, the Monumental Arch and the Necropolis in Al Bass (Tyre), the Thermae, the Arena and Palaestra in Tyre-Al Mina, ensuring the respect of the authenticity of these cultural masterpieces. The constitution of a Site Museum in Tyre-Al Bass and of a second museographic exhibition area in the cryptoporticus of Baalbeck-Al Qalaa, together with adequate visiting paths and explanatory panels will enable the suitable presentation and valorization of these tremendous assets of the Lebanese Cultural Patrimony.