Ancient Libyan town revives livelihoods
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Libyan High Authority for Tourism and Antiquities is restoring of its buildings and old spring water source in the ancient town of Ghadames.
More than 60 workers are making extensive repairs to adobe buildings in the old town center, using traditional construction materials. Work has begun on reviving the oasis's Ain Al-Faras spring.
The old town is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, dating back more than 2,000 years to pre-Roman times. Lying 650 kilometers south-west of the capital, Tripoli, it was an important desert trade center on the caravan routes across the Sahara.
Preservation became a priority when the town began to crumble after its small population moved out in the 1970s and 1980s to live in new homes on an adjacent site, with improved sanitation and modern amenities.
The rehabilitation project preserves a valuable piece of Libya's heritage and contributes to local livelihoods in a town with few income sources. Many are thus benefiting both from the project and the boost it gives tourism.
Local people have partcipated in almost every aspect of the project, including technical and architectural studies, restoration work and promoting opportunities for women to produce and sell traditional handicrafts.
The project team carried out hydrological and geological studies of the spring to analyze how to rehabilitate it. Over the centuries the people of Ghadames had developed an intricate network of canals fed by the spring, carrying water throughout the old town and its fields.
In the1980’s, after the spring began to dry up, an artesian well was dug to provide water for farmers. The project aims to revive the spring fully so that it can again feed the oasis and the old town. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)