A restoration expert works on mosaics inside the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
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After two years of painstaking work, experts have completed the initial phase of a delicate restoration project at the Church of the Nativity, giving a much-needed face-lift to one of Christianity's holiest sites. The project, partially funded by the Palestinians and conducted by a team of Palestinian and international experts, is the biggest restoration at the iconic church in some 600 years. Ziad al-Bandak, who leads the Palestinian committee in charge of the restoration, calls what has been accomplished so far nothing short of "revolutionary".The renovation is being conducted by a joint team of engineers, restoration experts and workers – Palestinians as well as Italians from "Piacenti," a firm which specializes in the renovation of historical sites and has worked on dozens of villas, palaces, churches and monasteries in Italy and Russia.Bandak said they have all been "very cooperative" throughout the restoration, even allowing access to the church in the dead of night to facilitate the work of experts.The full restoration will continue in phases and is expected to take at least another three years.
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