Partially damaged structure of the Ateeq mosque, in Shali, Egypt, before restoration.
Partially damaged structure of the Ateeq mosque, before restoration. ©

Ramez Azmy

We are happy to award the Revival of the Mosque of Moqbil project £79,520 

This project will see the restoration of a traditional rock-salt mosque in the old fortified city of Shali, Egypt.

Environmental Quality International will employ and supervise local master craftsmen to train local labourers in traditional conservation techniques, in turn (re)building skills in Shali residents in repairing their homes in a traditional and sustainable way.

Conserving the Mosque of Moqbil

The old fortified city of Shali was founded in approximately 1200 CE. It lost its role as the main settlement for the people of Siwa in the mid-nineteenth century, as local people started to move out of the old fortified city and into surrounding areas, although religious and ceremonial buildings continued to be used by the community. 

Recent unrest in Egypt has seen a sharp decline in tourists to the region, and instability in the Western Desert region (which includes Siwa) has put cultural heritage at further risk of destruction.

Although much of this old city lies in ruins, in 2016 a local construction company, Environmental Quality International (EQI), undertook a restoration of a mosque that is now used once more by the local community. The project galvanised the community to restore local buildings and convert them into bazaars, and the mosque is now under the careful management of the local people.

In this project, which was brought to the attention of EQI by the local community, EQI will manage a traditional restoration of the Mosque of Moqbil, recruiting local master craftsmen to train labourers in traditional techniques, encouraging wider, sustainable conservation of the area. 

Restoring the mosque in a traditional way

Delivered by EQI, this project will preserve the Mosque of Moqbil, (Masgid el Moqbil) using traditional materials and building methods including the use of rock-salt (Kershef blocks) which is the traditional building method for the area.

During the restoration, partially fallen or rotten palm trunks and olive beams will be replaced, and walls will be finished with hardened clay known as tafla. 

Completed restoration of a building in Shali, Egypt, converted into the Elbanenshal Heritage Lodge
Completed restoration of a building converted into the Elbanenshal Heritage Lodge. ©

Ramez Amzy

About Environmental Quality International

EQI was founded in Egypt in 1981 as a private partnership engaged in the delivery of environmental consulting services. Starting with less than ten employees, EQI rapidly acquired the range of professional skills needed to design and implement comprehensive strategies for dealing with environmental challenges. With an in-house team in place made up of social scientists and environmental, management, finance and communication specialists, EQI expanded to other areas of development, such as governance and enterprise development, gaining expertise in the fields of microfinance, ecotourism, and agriculture.

Today, EQI is a full-service company of over 150 employees, who together, address development needs across sectors. Operating primarily in Africa and the Middle East, EQI enjoys an international reputation for quality and innovation, both as a consultant and a direct investor in sustainable development initiatives. Their investments are structured to bring significant economic gains to the local communities concerned, while preserving the region’s rich natural assets and unique cultural heritage.