Sharjah: The restoration of the central souq in the Old City of Aleppo by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) has received the ICCROM-Sharjah Award for Best Practice in Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management in the Arab region. ICCROM is the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property and this biennial award seeks to honour outstanding work that contributes towards the protection of cultural heritage in the Arab world.
The prize is a joint collaboration between ICCROM and Sharjah and held under the patronage of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
The Aga Khan Development Network undertook surveys and technical studies for the rehabilitation of Souq al-Saqatiyya and planned for the souq’s rehabilitation as part of their humanitarian assistance. The AKTC then began a pilot project in the Aleppo Souq, the largest medieval souq in the Middle East, which had been badly damaged during the conflict.
The prototype for conservation included improvement of the infrastructure in all public spaces along 150 metres of the souq, including the vaulted roof and central passageway, essential infrastructure and utilities, as well as three completed shops showcasing the possible finish of individual shops.
The ICCROM-Sharjah Award works to help safeguard the cultural heritage of the Arab region. It also aims to promote international ethics in the practise of tangible heritage conservation and to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience across borders, enhance public awareness and appreciation of cultural heritage.