PART of a rehabilitation master plan to transform the decaying town of Birzeit, this five-year project has created jobs through conservation and has revived dying traditional arts.
Located 10km to the north of Ramallah, Birzeit is known for its cultural, heritage and archaeological sites and ruins. Within the historical area, there are 108 heritage buildings and a history that dates back to the Mamluk era originating in Egypt around 1250CE. When Birzeit University moved its campus away, the university population shifted from the historic area where the old campus used to be located, leaving many abandoned buildings. The problem was further exacerbated when most of the town’s residents left the historical area.
Initiated by the Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation, the project aims to transform the town by using its historical buildings not only as residences but also for cultural, educational, and tourism purposes. The project is an impetus for community involvement – from owners and tenants to local NGOs and the private sector, working hand-in-hand with the municipality.