The European Union announces the very first international support for the conservation and protection of the Laas Geel cave paintings located in the rural outskirts of Hargeisa in Somaliland.
The caves contain some of the earliest known paintings in the Horn of Africa. The art, estimated to be between 5,000 and 7,000 years old as classified in 2002 by a team of French archaeologists, is considered one of the major cave art in the region due to the high quality of the art and the stories they tell.
The EU’s support comes at a crucial moment in time to improve the protection resources and conservation skills around the site. The new 12 months programme, to be implemented by the Hargeisa Cultural Centre in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism, entails capacity building for the site management, the fencing of the entire heritage site, removing of invasive vegetation, and the construction of pathways to the visits.
“Protecting Laas Geel is keeping part of the heritage of all of us”, said the EU Ambassador to Somalia, Nicolás Berlanga. “Heritage is culture and also a window to foster understanding between people and communities. Culture is also a source of revenues and a path to engage young generations in the preservation of their past. With this programme, the EU intends to build bridges among generations and Somali citizens and between our respective societies.”
Redsea Cultural Foundation Managing Director, Dr. Jama Musse Jama said, “The project is expected to trigger a series of public events. It is a consciousness-raising project where we want to engage with the youth, so they learn about the history and heritage of their country and appreciate the preservation of this world heritage site.”
The Somaliland Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism of Somaliland, Mohamoud Hassan Saad who is responsible for job creation and economic growth said, “currently we are doing the best with what we have, but there is high demand for capacity building of both the local community and the ministry so that the people can understand the value and importance of preserving the national heritage assets for Somaliland and for the rest of the world.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
EU Delegation to Somalia