The New Hermopolis Cultural Village Looking for Volunteers

Welcome to The New Hermopolis, a cultural village in Middle Egypt where responsible tourism, heritage, culture, and community development meet.

The concept of the cultural village was the vision of Dr. Mervat Abdul-Nasser, the chairwoman of the Foundation for Creativity and Human Development. The village is a place where visitors can rest or explore the wealth of antiquities in this oft-ignored part of Egypt. It is less than 3km from the Ancient Hermopolis at Tuna El Gebel, Mallawi, El Minia. As an environment conducive to artistic creation where visitors can reflect, meditate, and find inspiration, it is perfect for long and short-term residencies for all types.

The New Hermopolis is  a registered UK charity and an official Egyptian NGO which aims to provide economic opportunity to underprivileged pockets of Egyptian society. The community involvement enriches the atmosphere of the village as a whole and brings the entire project into harmony with its local surroundings.

A Call for Volunteers

This is a site of immense potential, but help is needed in order to cultivate a vibrant community built on the principles of sustainability and respect for humanity and its heritage. In October, The New Hermopolis Village will open its doors to friends and visitors for its inaugural year and help is needed in the final stages.

The Foundation has established an office in Cairo and is seeking committed individuals who can volunteer their backgrounds in administrative work, marketing, fundraising, and NGO management in order to develop the full potential of The New Hermopolis. This is a unique opportunity for people who care about heritage, culture, and developing human potential.

The Village

The building is approached through a long avenue, the axis of which is architecturally designed to have an astrological relationship with the sun whereby the light of the sun will flood the retreat’s inner courtyard with its square Lotus lake following the times of the solstice.

The lake itself is embraced by the multi-domed structure of the building.  The composite of the rounded circle of the base of the dome and the square shape of the lake is the “octagon”- an intermediate symbol between earth and heaven. The octagon is a significant mythological symbol of Hermopolis, the city that witnessed the marriage between the eight contradictory procreative forces to enable harmony to be born.

Eco-friendly

In keeping with the symbolic eight, the building itself consists of 16 lodges that have a capacity for 52 visitors. It is made of limestone using old techniques of building. The retreat follows ecological principles in its building. Insulation and ventilation are maximised through the use of stone, the layout of doors and windows and the shape of domes and vaults. It is also run on the basis of preserving water and energy and all the heating throughout the retreat is provided by solar energy. There is also rubbish recycling area and all light fittings in the rooms are made from recycled iron by a young Egyptian artist.

More Ways to be Involved

There are a number of ways for you to be involved in addition to becoming a volunteer. You can  contribute to The Hermopolis Foundation financially, or sign up for the newsletter in order to stay informed about the project. As the project continues to expand in October, people with skills in horticulture, landscaping, art/interior design, building management, and hospitality will be needed.

For more information about joining this volunteer program, please contact Mervat Nasser at mervatnasser@newhermopolis.org.

Take a look at the village’s website for further information.

This post comes from Nigel J. Hetherington of Past Preservers.

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About Adventures in Preservation

Huge fans of the world's architectural heritage, making it a point to seek out historic buildings wherever we travel. Bloggers include co-founder of Adventures in Preservation, a non-profit organizing historic preservation-based volunteer vacations, and AiP interns.
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