| || Founded in the thirteenth century, the citadel of Shali protected the inhabitants from pillagers for many years. But its walls built of kershef —salt bricks covered with clay and plaster—were no match for the violent rains of 1926. Three days of deluge left nothing but a mass of ruins, bearing witness to a vanishing style of architecture. Although some of the fortress’ houses are still inhabited, modern Siwa is chiefly built of concrete, clustering around its old town. Since 1998, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme has encouraged young Siwa entrepreneurs to rediscover their cultural and architectural heritage. The region’s governor, who also would like to see this heritage preserved, has required all new buildings around the citadel of Shali to be built using traditional methods.
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