Funding amount: US$ 2,219,000 

Donor: British Council  


Duration: 18 months  Location:  Tripoli and Saida 
Status:  Completed  Number of beneficiaries: 410 Direct, 25000 Indirect 

The historic centres of Saida and Tripoli were facing a dire predicament. Densely populated and steeped in centuries of culture and history, these areas rapidly deteriorated due to a complex interplay of factors. Sectarian conflicts had cast a shadow over the region's recent history, leading to a constant shift in population dynamics as refugees sought refuge in these historic neighbourhoods despite the poor housing conditions. Recognizing the urgency of preserving these cultural gems and improving the living conditions of vulnerable families, a transformative project was initiated by UN-Habitat, funded by the British Council. 


This pioneering initiative set out to restore 36 mixed-use residential and commercial buildings in the heart of both cities. Each area selected for restoration centred around a historic landmark: the iconic Al Moallaq Mosque in Tal'et el Ouainat in Tripoli and a historic Hammam in the Souk el Hayyakin and Rue el Batta in Saida. The project encompasses comprehensive facade repairs and essential electrical and water infrastructure upgrades, significantly enhancing living conditions. 


The project works to preserve Saida and Tripoli's cultural heritage, safeguarding the memories of generations past. The restoration of these historic buildings ensures their survival and celebrates their architectural significance. The project empowers vulnerable families by improving housing conditions and promoting local economic activity, giving them a renewed sense of hope. Moreover, capacity-building initiatives raise awareness about preserving and maintaining heritage sites, instilling a sense of responsibility in the local community. The project also provides municipalities with tools to promote tourism and educated the youth as tour guides, fostering a sustainable and inclusive tourism sector. 


The successful restoration of Saida and Tripoli's historic centres is a testament to the power of international collaboration and local determination. By preserving cultural heritage and improving living conditions, this project addresses immediate needs and lays the foundation for sustainable development and a brighter future for these historic cities. The story of Saida and Tripoli showcases the transformative potential of initiatives that prioritize heritage, people, and progress.