Les Amis de l’Archéologie Palestinienne

LightLinks, the urban lighting initiative devised by Thorn and LUCI is now fully underway

lundi 1er septembre 2008.

The project aims to contribute to the development of urban lighting in disadvantaged communities by encouraging cities from high and low income countries to partner together. The first beneficiary is Jericho, who is receiving assistance from the City of Lyon and Thorn. Lighting expert Philippe Hutinet, of Agence Hutinet in France, has now joined the team and volunteered his competence and knowledge of the area to help this exciting corporate responsibility project.

The LightLinks project will gather pace over the summer culminating in the lighting of two heritage sites – the giant tree of Zacchaeus and the ruins of Hisham’s Palace.

For LightLinks, Christophe Richon, Director of the Thorn Academy of Light, took part in a mission that went to the Palestinian West Bank to co-ordinate the partners, explore the lighting concepts and prepare the sites for practical implementation. The party also investigated the feasibility of lighting a mountain, as it is hoped that a third site, the Mount of Temptation, will also benefit from the scheme in the near future !

He was able to see at first hand how the lighting provided by LightLinks is providing resources that Jericho would not otherwise have access to, and is empowering them to better their own urban lighting. He was also greatly encouraged by the people’s enthusiasm for lighting and their ability to work together.

Mission to Jericho Here Christophe talks about his visit, the task force, and how Jericho is looking forward to a brighter future. "From May 17 to 20 a task force flew to Jericho, comprising of : Antoine Bouchet and Frédéric Durand (Lyon Public Lighting Department) ; Philippe Hutinet ; Noha Rashmawi (representative for Jericho at LUCI) and myself. Everything was perfectly organised and steered by Noha who spent considerable energy in translating and keeping pace with the tight programme. We were extremely well received and supported by the municipality of Jericho and mayor El-Hussein. We also got to meet Dr Taha, Director of Palestinian Archaeology, the electricity company and local business owners, among others. All showed great enthusiasm. The most frequent question was ‘when will it be ready ?’ Unfortunately, the Thorn equipment sent for on-site testing did not arrive in time due to custom difficulties. However, Adly Sharif, the local Thorn agent (Technolight Engineering), managed to provide us with some alternatives. We spent three evenings with the city electricians and other municipality employees at the sites. Antoine, Philippe and Frédéric impressed the locals with their competence, and were pleased with the results. Many officials came, and the trials conducted on the Mount of Temptation were the talk of the city ! The next steps are now :
- to finalise the lighting concept for the Tree and Palace sites
- to organise the implementation (including installation by the city of Jericho)
- to return post summer to validate the concept and prepare the implementation phase with the local partners In parallel, we would like to further investigate possibilities to light the Mount of Temptation, which appeared clearly to us as a project of extreme importance for the people of Jericho. Whilst technical feasibility is now granted, funding remains an issue, due to the magnitude of the site. As a conclusion, I saw for myself that LightLinks is making a real contribution, not only by boosting the night appeal of major tourist attractions, but for the community. As one of our hosts said ‘amidst the terrible situation we are in, it’s projects like yours which keep us going and hoping’.

Christophe Richon 14 July 2008

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