U.S.-Funded Conservation Project at Bassatine Cemetery Highlights Egypt’s Diverse Cultural Heritage

Photos courtesy of Drop of Milk Foundation

January 23, 2020

Cairo – The U.S. Embassy in Cairo is pleased to announce that the latest project funded under the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) is the conservation of the Bassatine Cemetery in Cairo, one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the world.  Preservation of this important heritage site will showcase Egypt’s historical pluralism and highlight the country’s cultural diversity.

As part of the longstanding strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt, since 2001 the American people have funded the conservation and restoration of over a dozen Egyptian cultural heritage sites under the AFCP.

At the inauguration of the project, U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen said, “We are proud to partner in preserving and protecting Egypt’s heritage sites.  This Ambassadors Fund project at Bassatine Cemetery is an investment in Egypt’s diverse cultural history, and an opportunity to raise awareness of Egypt’s diversity.”

The American Research Center in Egypt, in collaboration with Drop of Milk Foundation, will implement the project at Bassatine Cemetery to conserve graveyards and architecture, as well as ensure long-term sustainability of the site.

The Bassatine Cemetery dates back to the ninth century, and it was previously divided into designated areas for the Rabbanite and Karaite Jewish communities.  Egyptian Jews of all backgrounds have been buried in the site since its founding, including important historic figures in the Egyptian Jewish community such as Rabbi Haim Capusi and representatives of well-known Egyptian Jewish families from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The AFCP supports the preservation of cultural sites, objects, and forms of traditional cultural expression around the world.  The previously funded projects in Egypt include archeological and cultural heritage sites from Pharaonic, Islamic, Coptic, and Jewish civilizations throughout Egypt’s history.  Find out more at the Embassy’s website, https://eg.usembassy.gov, or learn more about our cultural heritage programming on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @USEmbassyCairo.