Today, U.S. Embassy Beirut Deputy Chief of Mission Edward White took part in a launching ceremony with the Ministry of Culture to mark the start of an Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) project to rehabilitate the Sidon Sea Castle. The Ministry of Culture’s Directorate General of Antiquities will implement the $100,000 grant. The Sidon Sea Castle restoration is the eighteenth AFCP project in Lebanon. Last year in Sidon, Ambassador Elizabeth Richard inaugurated a completed AFCP project at the Temple of Eshmun.
The U.S. Congress established AFCP grants in 2000. Grants have supported projects in over 130 countries to preserve cultural heritage. To date, AFCP has funded 18 projects in Lebanon. These include the preservation of the Ras-Nahel Khalwet site in the Shouf Mountains, Islamic manuscripts at the National Library, the Mar Bichay Hermitage at the Mar Antonios Monastery in Ehden, a Roman-era temple in Temnin in the Bekaa Valley, historic sites on the Rabbit and Palm Islands Nature Preserve off the coast of Mina near Tripoli, and, in Tyre, the Mubarakeh Tower and the funerary complex at the Al-Bass Necropolis site. To date, grants awarded to AFCP projects in Lebanon amount to $1,181,727.