The European Union announces the very first international support for the conservation and protection of the Laasgeel cave paintings located on the rural outskirts of Hargeysa in Somaliland.
The caves contain some of the earliest known paintings(link is external) in the Horn of Africa(link is external). The art, estimated to be between 5,000 and 7,000 years old and classified in 2002 by a team of French archeologists, is considered one of the major rock art sites of the region due to thehigh number and quality of the panels of rock art, and the originality of the representations of cattle and characters.
The EU’s support comes at a crucial moment in time to improve the protection resources and conservation skillsaround the site. The new 12 months programme, implemented by the Hargeysa Cultural Center 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 Laasgeel is keeping part of the heritage of all of us”, said the EU Ambassador to Somalia, NicolásBerlanga. “Heritage is culture and also a window to foster understanding between people and communities. Culture is also a source of revenues and a path for 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.”