In the presence of His Excellency Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, European Union Representative Ralph Tarraf, UNNDP, represented by Roberto Valent, inaugurated yesterday the historic site of Maqam Nabi Musa in Jericho Governorate.
“The work that was done in Nabi Musa preserves our historical, religious and spiritual heritage,” said Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. “Today, we see the rebirth of Maqam Nabi Musa, fully restored and will be managed by a Palestinian private sector company.
I thank the UNDP for their spirit of partnership with the government, and the generosity of the EU, and its member states, for their support to the Palestinian people,” he added.
The Maqam Nabi Musa project is part of a Euro 5 million EU funded programme, implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Ministry of Awqaf and religious Affairs, Jericho Governorate and other relevant stakeholders in the tourism sector. The programme aims at supporting the development of cultural tourism in the State of Palestine, coupled with a Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) model that fosters economic growth in the region.
“Historic buildings are reflections of our histories and the face of our heritage. They reflect conflicts, wars and also peace and prosperity of our past. Preserving and restoring these buildings help us understand, respect, and connect with the past. In Palestine, cultural heritage remains a sensitive topic, also politically. The renovated Maqam En Nabi Mousa, which we celebrate today, is an example of an iconic historic building located between Jericho and Jerusalem. We are confident that this site, once operational, will become a hub for an enriched community life and attract pilgrims and tourists,” said the EU Representative Ralph Tarraf.
The Support to the Development of Cultural Tourism programme has transformed the Maqam into a fully-functioning guest house and tourist centre for both religious and mainstream tourism. Restoration works included rehabilitation of pathways, building elevations and basic infrastructure networks, development of the exterior courtyard and landscaping. This has generated over 25,500 workdays for skilled and unskilled laborers. With emphasis on supporting the local community, it is expected that 70 sustainable job opportunities will be created once the operation starts.
Roberto Valent, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, highlighted the importance of the Nabi Musa historical site in creating new job opportunities and an enabling economic environment for young men and women. “This project has not only contributed to inclusive economic development but has also developed the capacities of young Palestinian professionals in cultural preservation. Cultural heritage and diversity are crucial enablers for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The engagement of the different stakeholders, be it the government or the local community, in the stewardship of this project is a model to be followed. UNDP is proud to be part of this”.
Further to the completion of rehabilitation works, the site now has a 60-bed capacity distributed across the lodges, hostel and back-backing area. A restaurant and cafe were also established in addition to 14 spaces designated for shops to promote Palestinian local products. The spaces at the court will also be upgraded to host a museum and multi-purpose halls. It is anticipated that around 120,000 people will visit the site on yearly basis, in addition to the increasing influx of visitors during Mawsem Nabi Musa.
Following the ribbon cutting, the guests had a tour of the site and were briefed on the utilization of digital heritage in promoting cultural sites and raising awareness to the local and international community at large.
The event was attended by H.E. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh; Mr Jihad Abu Al Asal, Governor of Jericho; H.E. Rula Ma’ayah, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities; H.E. Ralph Tarraf, EU Representative, Dr Guy Clausse, Executive Vice President of Europa Nostra; Mr Roberto Valent, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator as well as representatives from the Palestinian government, private sector and local community.