Aid & Development

People of Ghadames, Libya call on UNESCO to intervene to save their city

North Africa

The residents of the city of Ghadames in Libya, call on UNESCO to intervene in repairing and protecting their city which is one of the oldest cities to be built in North Africa.

Ghadames is a Berber oasis town located on the cross-section of the borders of Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. It represents one of the five Libyan sites listed on the UNESCO’s Endangered World Heritage list, which were included in the list in 2015 in light of the conflict inside Libya. The local inhabitants of the town are inviting the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to bring their representatives and help to restore the historical heritage of the town.

Ghadames is home to caves and ancient buildings dating back to the pre-Christian period and has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Its monuments have been damaged and a lack of security over the past few years has prevented the realisation of serious efforts to restore the buildings. 

There are extremely few people living in the Old City of Ghadames and so there is nobody to take care of the local historical heritage. In addition, the heavy rainfall in the town is contributing to the deterioration of the monuments. The lack of regular maintenance is becoming detrimental to the conservation of the sites, especially in the winter months. 

Local residents are thus appealing to international organisations such as UNESCO to intervene and provide the manpower and resources necessary to rehabilitate the architectural heritage of this ancient site.

Several such initiatives are being developed across Libya as the military conflict in the country subsides. A conference was organised this year in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, to discuss the restoration of its historical monuments.

The United Nations (UN) is already playing a role in the stabilisation of the political situation in the country, which is still very much divided on political lines. Libya has been experiencing a governmental deadlock since the downfall of Muammar Ghaddafi in 2011, as various political factions have been vying for power over the past seven years.

Image: Al Ghad