Mayor of Sabratha cuts the ribbon during the opening ceremony of the non-historic part of Sabrtha's Roman Theatre. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/ Abdullah Elgamoudi

Sabratha, 17/February/2021 –  As part of its efforts to support local authorities restore stability in Libya, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the “Strengthening Local Capacities for Resilience and Recovery” (SLCRR) project funded by the European Union (EU) completed renovation of the non-historic part of the Roman Theatre in Sabratha. 

In 2016, clashes within and around the archeological site destroyed parts of this invaluable cultural heritage with some areas like the workshop hanger left in ashes due to missile explosions. 

The restoration work included rehabilitation of the tourism administration offices, the main department of antiquities offices, the administration building for the tourist police, the workshop hanger, washrooms, the monuments lab as well as three entrance gates to attract more visitors to the ancient city and be better equipped to serve them.

The World Heritage Archaeological Site of Sabratha has a long and important history and has been inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1982. The landmark was once a Phoenician trading-post that served as an outlet for the products of the African hinterland, and later Romanized and rebuilt in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. In modern times, the site serves as a landmark and symbol for all Libyans as well as a destination for tourists, locals and students who come from all parts of the country. 

During the handover ceremony, the Mayor of Sabratha, Mr. Ramzi Masoud said: “We would like to thank UNDP for this achievement in the maintenance and development of the site’s facilities and the EU for the funding of these projects.  We look forward to further support and development for the historical and archaeological municipality of Sabratha and will make every effort to overcome difficulties and raise the standards of the services.”

UNDP Resident Representative in Libya, Mr. Gerardo Noto, acknowledged: “We celebrate Today the completion of the rehabilitation of the non-historical part of an icon for Sabratha and Libya, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage monument. This is also a symbol of how common values and culture may unify societies and contribute to peace and reconciliation in Libya. We are hopeful this rehabilitated site will have a positive impact on the people of Libya and will support the stability and recovery of the country.”

UNDP and its partners are committed to the full restoration of the Roman theatre, with rehabilitation of the historic part of the theatre underway.  The rehabilitation is also supported by the SLCRR project with funding from the EU, and in partnership with UNESCO (through the International Council on Monuments and Sites – ICOMOS) and the DoA in Libya. The landmark is expected to attract around 500,000 visitors every year. 

Background:

This project is implemented in the framework of the programme "Managing mixed migration flows in Libya through expanding protection space and supporting local socioeconomic development" financed by the North of Africa Window of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The main objective of this programme is to comprehensively reinforce protection and resilience of migrants, refugees and host communities in Libya while supporting an improved migration management along the migration routes in the country.

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