In the next few months the Gethsemane Basilica will undergo renovation works, concerning its roof, façade and mosaics.
This renovation is financed by the Italian-Palestinian programme PMSP (Palestinian Municipalities Support Programme), a cooperation programme between an Italian Municipality and one Palestinian institution. In this specific instance, the Italian Municipality supporting the initiative is Rovereto, while the Palestinian side is represented by the Mosaic Center of Jericho.
A delegation from the Rovereto Municipality visited the Basilica in the past few days to organize the technical aspects of the renovation works. The delegation included some architects from Pedri Studio and the programme officer in charge of the PMSP, Antonio La Rocca, accompanied by the father guardian of the Gethsemane convent and by Mr. Osama Hamdan and Mrs. Carla Benelli, collaborators of ATS Pro Terra Sancta in charge of the project.
A fundamental coordination role for the activities of the PMSP is played by the Italian Consulate General in Jerusalemand by the Palestinian Ministry for Local Government, while the scientific coordination and supervision is under the responsibility of an ad hoc committee of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, of which Mr. Pietro Kaswalder from Trento is also a member.
The renovation works in the beautiful Basilica, which welcomes around 5000 guests per day, will be part of a project by ATS pro Terra Sancta and the Mosaic Center Jericho. One of its aims is improving the professional training of some Palestinian youths from East Jerusalem.
The overall project aims at capitalizing on the experience and the expertise of Italian public institutions and associations to train some Palestinian youths from East Jerusalem for cultural heritage protection, guaranteeing job opportunities and cultural improvement for them; while working to preserve one of the most important area of Jerusalem in art and spiritual terms, that is the Garden of Gethsemane, we also try to increase the awareness of the local population toward the historical value and the necessity of their cultural heritage preservation.