Syria boasts an astonishing array of archeological sites dating as far back as 8000 BC, but a rich heritage can also be a burden when governments are faced with significant maintenance costs. In 1999, the Syrian Government approached the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) for assistance in the restoration of the three Citadels of Salah ad-Din, Masyaf, and Aleppo. Founded by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1988, the Trust had already established a reputation as one of the world’s foremost conservation organisations. Moreover, AKTC had been working in several sites in the Muslim world, from Cairo to Mali, Afghanistan to Zanzibar, to strike an appropriate balance between tourism and conservation and between development and cultural preservation.
A partnership agreement was signed with the Syrian General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums in 1999. Consistent with the area development approach developed by AKTC in Egypt, Pakistan and elsewhere, under the agreement AKTC would also work to improve the area around the citadels.
Last updated: August 2008