Benghazi looks to preserve historic buildings shattered by war

From Reuters - March 7, 2018

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - In Benghazis historic center, many of the landmark Ottoman and Italian-era buildings have been wrecked by years of war.

Officials say they are determined to restore this architectural heritage, but face a daunting challenge in a country with a crippled economy still mired in conflict and politically divided.

The municipal councils goal is to restore any building that still has its soul to its natural state, said Osama al-Kaza, projects manager at the city authority. He has his work cut out.

The front of the Italian-built palace from which King Idris declared Libyas independence from Italy in 1951 is riddled with bullet and shell holes, its wooden window frames blown out and its plaster blackened by smoke.

In a building dating to 1865 that housed the citys first printing press, a carved stone doorway has been filled with grey breeze blocks and the facade is badly chipped.

Historic Ottoman-era mosques lie empty and strewn with debris.

Benghazi, about 650 km (400 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, is where Libyas uprising started seven years ago, triggering a nationwide revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi after four decades in power.


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