U.S. Ambassador Patricia M. Haslach and Yonas Desta, Director General, Director General of the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH) jointly inaugurated the completion of the preservation of Biet Gabriel Rafael Churches and re-consecration of the Churches.
Representatives of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Lalibela government administration, members of the National Scientific Committee and invited guests were in attendance.
This project was a joint partnership among the United States Embassy, the World Monuments Fund, the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The National Scientific Committee, and the local Committee, also contributed a lot in the successful competition of this ground-breaking project, according to a statement from the US embassy.
“The preservation work was made possible by a grant from the U. S. government’s Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. The U.S. Embassy invested 14 million birr for the completion of the renovation,” the statement said.
The project was a major accomplishment not only because it successfully restored two UNESCO World Heritage churches, but also because it broke significant new ground in the field of conservation in Ethiopia, the statement further reads. “It added value to Ethiopian conservation experts to how they can conduct similar work with local materials and human resources.”
The process of restoring the heritage involved techniques for preservation that rely on local materials and expertise in order to make future work more manageable, cost effective and practical.
During the inaugural ceremony, U.S. Ambassador Patricia Haslach said, “The American government and people are very proud to support the preservation of the Lalibela churches, which is one of the most important heritage sites in Ethiopia.”
Since 2003, the U.S Embassy has supported the renovation of 7 historical heritages in Oromia, Amhara, Tigray, Harari regions and City Administration of Addis Abeba.