In Iraqi Kurdistan, Lafarge is playing a part in the preservation of Erbil, one of the most ancient cities in history, founded around 8,000 years ago. A vast project is under way that will make it possible to open the citadel to the public and to repopulate it. It will eventually be classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Constructed approximately 8,000 years ago, Erbil is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited settlements. The capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, it is home to around one and a half million people. The citadel that overlooks the city stretches over more than 10 hectares and it abounds in architectural remains of rare splendor, with vestiges of periods of Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Greek and Arabic occupation.
Today, though, it is in poor condition. An enormous restoration operation has been launched, with a triple objective:
- preserving the historical heritage of the city,
- opening this exceptional site to the public and to tourists by providing it with hotels, cafés and art galleries,
- welcoming new populations.
Lafarge is working with the local authorities, UNESCO and the French Institute for the Near East in Iraq. In addition to making a financial contribution, we are taking responsibility for the renovation of several houses located inside the citadel. We are also supplying cement and contributing our expertise in reconstruction, in compliance with UNESCO standards in view of the future classification of the citadel as a World Heritage Site.
Erbil will then be ready to share its riches for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years to come!