Fountain in Battir square, Palestine
Fountain using water from the ancient Ein al-Balad spring in Battir square, Palestine.  ©

The Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation

We are pleased to award the Cultural and natural heritage: A tool for socio-economic development project £97,925

This project will rehabilitate an ancient spring and its associated square, which is part of the Palestinian World Heritage Site ‘Land of Olives and Vines’.

The Land of Olives and Vines 

The Land of Olives and Vines is a cultural landscape situated a few kilometres to the south west of Jerusalem, in the Central Highlands between Nablus and Hebron. The landscape is built up of a set of tiered framed valleys irrigated through a traditional underground water system fed by ancient springs, which is also used to supply the nearby village of Battir.

The valleys and stone terraces of the landscape are maintained by the people of Battir, and used for garden production, or planted with grapevines and olive trees. The site is included in Unesco’s World Heritage Sites 'In Danger' list, threatened by the intention to build a dividing wall through the middle of the site. 

 An ancient spring and village square

This ten month project will rehabilitate the ancient Ein al-Balad spring (the most important of the six springs that feed the Land of Olive and Vines) and its associated square in Battir. The square, which overlooks the terraces of the world heritage site, is a central meeting point for local people, though its role has declined as the area has been subject to neglect and subsequently fallen into disrepair.

Graffiti will be removed from the stones around the spring, which will also be cleaned and repointed. Recent concrete additions will be replaced with tiles and new handrails and facades will be installed. Alongside this, the Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation (CCHP) will deliver a series of community engagement activities, and carry out promotional activities to raise awareness and increase interest in the area. CCHP will also prepare a plan for future sustainable restoration and development of Battir as a Palestinian World Heritage Site.  

About the Centre for Cultural Preservation

Established in 2001, the Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation (CCHP) has lead the way in preserving tangible and intangible cultural heritage resources, and targeting towns and villages in Bethlehem governorate in efforts to link the past with the present and safeguard heritage as a manifestation of Palestinian culture, history and identity. 

To complement these efforts, CCHP implements awareness-raising campaigns to draw attention to the importance of cultural heritage preservation for the future of Palestinian society. CCHP also formulates conservation plans for towns and villages and conducts research and studies on cultural heritage and its role in sustainable development.  CCHP played a fundamental role in the preparation of the Nomination Dossiers for inscribing Bethlehem and Battir on the UNESCO World Heritage List.