Press release

UNESCO presents outcomes of the project “Inventory of Cultural Heritage Sites in the Gaza Strip”’

Ramallah, 16 September 2019 - UNESCO Ramallah Office, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA) presented the outcomes of the project “Updating the Inventory of Cultural Heritage Sites in the Gaza Strip”. The event was attended by a variety of institutions, experts and donors working in the field of cultural heritage in Palestine.

The UNESCO project was implemented in the framework of its regular programme concerning the effective implementation of the UNESCO 1972 World Heritage Convention, with co-funding by the Government of Sweden through Sida.  The updated inventory extended over a year of continuous work by UNESCO Ramallah office with its team of consultants from Enfra-Kanaan coalition in the Gaza Strip. The multidisciplinary team presented a methodology based on digital documentation of historic buildings and archaeological sites, in addition to updating information about each building and site and identifying their accurate coordinates.

Mr. Junaid Sorosh-Wali, Officer-in-Charge, Head of UNESCO Ramallah Office and Head of Culture Unit, highlighted the significance of this project and the effort it took from preparation to finalization. He emphasized that with the guidance of UNESCO, the work has been carried out by young Palestinians, using modern digital methods throughout all phases of research, survey and presentation of results. The result is an updated list of cultural heritage sites in the Gaza Strip that could serve as a basis for a comprehensive register of cultural heritage sites in Palestine.

Mr. Jihad Yassin, representative of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, underlined the Ministry's interest in the inventory and documentation of Palestinian cultural heritage, especially in the Gaza Strip. He further mentioned that the Ministry would like to expand this experience to other parts of Palestine, including a pilot in one of the Palestinian Governorates and commended the UNESCO and the Government of Sweden for their technical and financial support.

The meeting was concluded with a presentation on the process and results of the inventory as well as recommendations, presented by two members of the team from the Gaza Strip, Ms. Nesma Sallaq and Ms. Sondos Nakhalah. A total of 268 cultural heritage buildings were inventoried along with 86 archeological sites, 16 of them were not accessible to the team. Data on accessibility, ownership, use and state of conservation was collected. The presentation was followed by an open discussion with the audience who valued the work and its outcomes.

It is worth mentioning that this project documents cultural heritage sites in the Gaza Strip for their effective conservation and management as well as to create a good practice that could be the basis for establishing the comprehensive register of cultural heritage in Palestine in line with the provisions of Decree Law No. 11/2018 on the tangible cultural heritage in Palestine.