A delegation of experts from across Egypt, Tunisia, and Sudan are visiting the Mamluk Minbars of Cairo and celebrating the success of the restoration work conducted on it as part of UK’s Cultural Protection Fund, according to a Thursday statement of the British embassy in Egypt.
The Cultural Protection Fund is currently investing over £3m in six projects across Egypt to create sustainable opportunities for economic and social development while protecting cultural heritage, noted the statement.
These projects bring together international experts including those from Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation, the University of Oxford, the Institute of Development Studies of University of Sussex, Environmental Quality International (EQI), the British Museum, and the Levantine Foundation.
The £30m Fund is co-funded by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture Media (DCMS) and Sport, and is delivered in partnership with the British Council. It supports local initiatives to protect at-risk cultural heritage, including monuments, archaeology, museums and libraries, and also aims to train archaeologists and prevent looting and illegal trafficking. The fund is currently supporting 51 projects in 12 countries across the Middle East and North Africa.
This week, experts from across the region gathered in Cairo to learn from the success of projects which have so far included restoring Mamluk Minbars in Cairo, and a traditional rock-salt mosque in Siwa.
British ambassador to Egypt Sir Geoffrey Adams said: “Tourists across the world come to Egypt to enjoy its rich history and heritage. I am delighted the British government is investing in restoring part of Egypt’s heritage through the Cultural Protection Fund which brings together British, Egyptian, and international expertise.”
Director of the British Council, Elizabeth White, said: “The British Council is proud to work along with the DCMS and with our partners in Egypt on projects aimed at protecting and preserving cultural heritage. In every country, this matters; in Egypt, with this country’s incomparable cultural riches, the work is crucial. We are delighted to welcome project partners from across the region this week.”
Abdelhamid Salah, chairperson of the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation said: “The recent thefts of objects of cultural heritage, especially those of Islamic heritage and Mamluk Minbars, served as a warning to Egyptian institutions and the international community. The initiative of the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation to rescue these platforms coincided with the British Council’s objectives for awarding grants to cultural heritage preservation projects. Thanks to the efforts of both parties and partners, the Mamluk restoration project is now an important scientific and strategic model for protecting heritage, not only to the Egyptian society, but also to the international community. “