The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on Wednesday announced the inauguration of the ancient Roman Theatre in Libya's western city of Sabratha following its renovation supported by the European Union.
"In cooperation with the Ministry of Local Government, the Department of Antiquity and UNESCO (through the International Council on Monuments and Sites), UNDP provided support to the Municipality of Sabratha to restore the historical and non-historical buildings of the Roman Theatre," the UNDP said in a statement.
The restoration works included rehabilitation of service offices to manage the monuments, rehabilitation of the Roman Theatre stage, maintenance, improvement of three entrance gates, and installation of solar streetlights, according to the statement.
The renovated Roman Theatre is expected to attract about 500,000 visitors every year, generating critical economic activity and thousands of jobs, according to the statement.
"The Roman Theatre is a symbol of how common values and culture may unify communities and contribute to peace and reconciliation in Libya. UNDP is proud to partner with Libyan authorities and the EU to help preserve the rich cultural heritage of the country as an essential pillar of recovery and development," said UNDP's Resident Representative Marc-Andre Franche.
"Libya's shared cultural heritage has all the potential to become an important driver for sustainable development. Extraordinary archaeological sites like the Roman Theatre in Sabratha offer immense opportunities for the communities to create jobs and boost the local economy," said the EU Ambassador to Libya Jose Sabadell.
The famous Roman Theatre in Sabratha is one of the five Libyan sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1982.
Sabratha, located some 70 km west of Libya's capital Tripoli, witnessed violent clashes a few years ago between government forces and armed groups, damaging parts of the cultural heritage.