Individual initiatives breathe life back into Gaza’s old houses

Some businessmen and heritage institutions have taken it upon themselves to restore the ancient homes of the Gaza Strip, some dating back hundreds of years, amid limited government funding and external support to preserve Gaza’s heritage

Archaeology & restoration expert Suleiman Hashem opens the cover of an ancient well discovered in a house being restored in Old Gaza City, 22 June 2020

Ahmad Abu Amer reports in Al-Monitor:

Gaza City is home to dozens of ancient houses, some dating back hundreds of years. But these frail houses are collapsing due to natural factors and lack of official care. In a bid to salvage the heritage of Gaza City and its archaeological houses, Palestinian businessman Jawdat al-Khudari decided in early June to buy some of them. He proceeded to execute restoration works to bring them back to life.

Khudari, who in recent years managed to restore four out of five ancient houses he acquired in central Gaza City, told Al-Monitor that restoration works require a great deal of efforts, months of continuous work and a lot of money. He noted that the restoration processes have shed light on the historical periods and civilizations in Gaza City.

Preserving Gaza’s heritage is not limited to governmental or heritage institutions. Khudari described it as a collective effort by anyone who can help, especially since only few ancient homes remain standing.

Al-Monitor toured the area known as Old Gaza in central Gaza City, where the ancient homes are located. Many of those houses have been destroyed by bulldozers over the years. Some were replaced with modern residential buildings and commercial stores. Only a few abandoned ancient homes have withstood demolition.

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