December 17, 2006

European Commission Approves a 6.3mln € Construction Project for Churches in Lalibela

December 14, 2006
Posted to the web December 15, 2006
Addis Ababa
The European Commission (EC) said on Tuesday it has endorsed a works contract valued at -6.3 million Euro for the construction of four shelters for five churches in the UNESCO World heritage Site of Lalibela.
According to EC, the purpose of the shelters is to protect the churches before and during the restoration works.
The contract agreement scheduled to be completed in sixteen months was concluded between the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural heritage (ARCCH) and the Joint Venture of Endeco SPA & ICOM Engineering SPA, the Commission said.
The churches to be covered are: Biet Medhane-Alem, Biet maryam, Beit Masqal, Biet Amanuel and Biet Abba-Libanos.
"The endorsement of the works contract is an indication of the EC's strong commitment to the preservation and conservation of the unique cultural heritage of Ethiopia," the Commission said in a statement sent to The Daily Monitor on Thursday.
The European Commission will provide -5.5 million for the works from the European Development Fund.
According to the statement, the shelters have been designed by Teprin Architects winner of the international architectural Competition; "The skies of Lalibela", held in 2002.
The commission said judges for the competition were appointed by ARCCH, UNESCO, Ethiopian Association of Architects and the EC.
The Shelters have been designed as temporary installations capable of being removed after completion of the restoration works and of being otherwise reused.
The process was throughout supported by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
In his remarks on the conclusion of the works contract agreement, Head of the European Commission Delegation to Ethiopia, Ambassador Tim Clarke said in the statement : "I am extremely happy that this contract has been signed and that we can now move forward on the conservation work." Ambassador Tim Clarke added that, in recent months, there have been intensive consultations with UNESCO and all the parties involved so as to ensure the unique features of the Lalibela site are preserved during the works.
In parallel to the construction of the shelters, the Commission is considering mobilizing a further - 2 million for carrying out additional work to conserve Lalibela's wonderful paintings and other treasures, Tim Clark indicated in the statement.
(Pictures from Lalibela).

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