The Old City of Jerusalem Revitalization Program (OCJRP, O.C.J.R.P., J.R.P. or JRP) was begun in 1995 with primary funding from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development to renovate and restore major Arab historic and residential sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Program has been able to expand through funds raised for specific JRP projects. By encouraging the use of traditional materials and careful restoration techniques, the Program aims to influence local restoration practices as well as to improve the social and economic conditions for inhabitants. The Program is implemented by an interdisciplinary technical team of urban planners, architects and archeologists and uses the expertise of local craftsmen.
The "third jewel" in al-Haram al-Sharif, this Mamluk structure underwent a first phase of restoration in 2001 to house the Al-Aqsa Center for the Restoration of Islamic Manuscripts and a rare manuscript collection.
A Fund in Trust agreement was signed with UNESCO for the training of staff and purchase of the specialized equipment needed for the establishment of a restoration laboratory, to be arranged by UNESCO. Five Palestinian technicians were trained in Italy in restoration techniques over three years; UNESCO funded the first two years of the course while WA funded their third year, completed in 2002. The roof rehabilitation, including the delicate restoration of the original Mamluk tiles, was completed in 2003. After two years of delay due to the prevailing political conditions, the first stage of restoration of the main halls was completed in 2004, including special tiling design and wooden partitions. A complete mechanical ventilation and air-conditioning system was installed to ensure environmental control for this delicate work. The Al-Aqsa Center for the Restoration of Islamic Manuscripts started functioning in 2008.
Source: Old City of Jerusalem Revitalisation Programme website