After two years of painstaking work, experts have completed the initial phase of a delicate restoration project at the Church of the Nativity, giving a much-needed face-lift to one of Christianity’s holiest sites.
Ziad al-Bandak, who leads the Palestinian committee in charge of the restoration, calls what has been accomplished so far nothing short of “revolutionary.”
Mimmo Nucatolo, who heads the Italian team restoring the mosaics, called the gold, green and pastel artworks “a unique example” made by skilled mosaicists at the end of the Crusader period. But he said that after centuries of neglect, the mosaics were in such a bad state that they almost disappeared from sight.
“From underneath you could no longer see the colors, so much so that some people were wondering ‘Do we really have mosaics in this church?’“ Nucatolo said.
The work will depend on the availability of funds. Al-Bandak said an additional $11 million is needed. The Palestinian Authority has already launched a campaign to raise the funds and Abbas has pledged to follow through.SHOW MORE