EU ambassadors visit Al-Maridani mosque after first phase of restoration

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The head of the European Union (EU) delegation in Egypt, Christian Berger, and ambassadors from 13 European countries visited the Altinbugha Al-Maridani mosque in the Darb al-Ahmar district on Thursday.

The visit comes on the occasion of the completion of the first stage of EU-funded restoration of the Mamluk-era mosque in cooperation with the Aga Khan Foundation, under the supervision of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The EU provided € 1.2 million for the restoration of the mosque over 39 months (April 2018 – June 2021).

European officials, accompanied by their families, toured the mosque. They were briefed on the history of the mosque and its archaeological value, as well as the restoration process.

In addition, they also visited other archaeological buildings in Al-Darb Al-Ahmar, including the Khair Bek Mosque, the Blue Mosque and the towers of Salah Al-Din Castle.

Ambassador Berger said: “We keep coming back to Al-Maridani Mosque! This time, as promised, with the ambassadors of the EU Member States and their families to enjoy some of the rich Egyptian heritage newly restored with the support of the EU.

Berger explained that this project serves two purposes; it will revive the tourist movement in the region and help the district’s commercial activities to stimulate their activities. When the tourism movement returns, hopefully very soon after the pandemic, the benefits of the project will materialize.

“The EU-funded catering project has created employment and income opportunities for local residents and businesses, including training 600 owners and employees of workshops, restaurants and outlets. They represent about 20% of the total number of small and medium enterprises in the district. In addition, 56 tour guides received training, far exceeding the initial target of 40, ”said Berger.

He explained that this project reaffirms the EU’s commitment to conserve and promote the restoration of cultural heritage as well as the sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development of urban space.

“Preserving cultural heritage and stimulating socio-economic development at the same time is possible! added Berger.

“So, as I said, it’s a combination of two things, cultural heritage, which is very important for the city, but also people could take advantage of this cultural heritage to earn an income”, a- he concluded.




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