Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has released a statement denying reports on social media that Alexandria’s Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue has been placed on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger.
Yasmin El-Shazly, the General Supervisor of the Department of International Organisations for Cultural and the International Cooperation, said in the statement that the site was declared endangered by the World Monuments Fund, a non-profit NGO that is not part of UNESCO.
El-Shazly said that according to the rules and regulations of this fund, any person or entity can nominate any archaeological building to be placed on the list of this fund without a scientific study proving that the building is in danger.
“The Egyptian government gives equal importance to all its monuments and heritage sites, whether Ancient Egyptian, Jewish, Coptic or Islamic,” El-Shazly asserted.
El-Shazly said that the Egyptian government has allocated EGP 100 million to finance the restoration of the synagogue, which started in August and will last for eight months. El-Shazly added that this affirms the Egyptian government's keenness to protect and preserve the synagogue as part of Egypt’s heritage and identity.
Waadalah Abul-Ela, the head of the Projects Department at the antiquities ministry, said that the work on the synagogue aims to restore its architecture and fine decorative elements, as well as the lighting and security systems.
The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue is located in Nabi Daniel Street in downtown Alexandria and is the oldest synagogue in the city.
It was originally built in 1354 but was partially destroyed by the Napoleon expedition in 1798 in order to build a defensive wall from the Kom El-Dikka area to the Mediterranean.
In 1850, the synagogue was reconstructed with contributions from the royal family.