This project will see the restoration of a traditional rock-salt mosque in the old fortified city of Shali, Egypt. Environmental Quality International will employ and supervise local master craftsmen to train local labourers in traditional conservation techniques, in turn (re)building skills in Shali residents in repairing their homes in a traditional and sustainable way.
The old fortified city of Shali was founded in approximately 1200 CE. It lost its role as the main settlement for the people of Siwa in the mid-nineteenth century, as local people started to move out of the old fortified city and into surrounding areas, although religious and ceremonial buildings continued to be used by the community.
Recent unrest in Egypt has seen a sharp decline in tourists to the region, and instability in the Western Desert region (which includes Siwa) has put cultural heritage at further risk of destruction.
Although much of this old city lies in ruins, in 2016 a local construction company, Environmental Quality International (EQI), undertook a restoration of a mosque that is now used once more by the local community. The project galvanised the community to restore local buildings and convert them into bazaars, and the mosque is now under the careful management of the local people.
In this project, which was brought to the attention of EQI by the local community, EQI will manage a traditional restoration of the Mosque of Moqbil, recruiting local master craftsmen to train labourers in traditional techniques, encouraging wider, sustainable conservation of the area.
Delivered by EQI, this project will preserve the Mosque of Moqbil, (Masgid el Moqbil) using traditional materials and building methods including the use of rock-salt (Kershef blocks) which is the traditional building method for the area.
During the restoration, partially fallen or rotten palm trunks and olive beams will be replaced, and walls will be finished with hardened clay known as tafla