The Joint Steering Committee of UNESCO’s project for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Al-Nouri Mosque and its Al-Hadba Minaret, the Al-Tahera Church and Al-Saa’a Church, on 6 May determined future steps for the reconstruction of the three architectural landmarks of the Old City of Mosul (Iraq), part of UNESCO’s Revive the Spirit of Mosul initiative.
Next steps, following the results of the architectural competition that were made public on April 15, will focus on the development of a detailed design giving priority to the rehabilitation of the eastern part of the Complex, which includes the Al Nouri Prayer Hall. This symbolic building will be rebuilt as it was before its destruction in 2017 with some improvements in line with the wishes of the residents of Mosul, as reported in a survey by the University of Mosul last year.
Meanwhile, structural investigations are being conducted around the Al-Hadba Minaret to prepare for its restoration as it was before 2017, respecting the wish of Moslawis. This will also entail stabilization measures. The Al Tahera and Al-Saa’a Churches will also be restored during this phase which is to start by the end of this year. The timetable of these activities will depend on the ongoing response to COVID-19 in Mosul.
Acting for the Committee, UNESCO will continue to take on board the input of the residents of Mosul and will strengthen the continuous dialog and collaboration with local stakeholders in order to ensure that the reconstruction and rehabilitation project reflects the overall goal of reviving the spirit of Mosul.
The project, supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), aims to restore and reconstruct the historic landmarks of Mosul, notably the emblematic Al-Nouri Mosque and its celebrated 45-meter tall leaning Al-Hadba Minaret, built more than 840 years ago. This historic and defining structure was all but leveled by violent extremists who occupied the city from 2014 to 2017. The project also concerns the re-construction of two churches in the Old City of Mosul: the Al-Tahera Syriac Catholic Church and the Conventual Church of Our Lady of the Clock, with a view to reviving the cultural diversity that has characterized the history of Mosul for centuries.
The project provides employment opportunities and on-job training in partnership with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). UNESCO’s flagship initiative Revive the Spirit of Mosul was launched in February 2018, as the Organization’s response for the recovery of one of Iraq’s most iconic cities, through the revival of education, heritage and cultural life.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 5th meeting of the Joint Steering Committee was held virtually. It was co-chaired by the Minister of Culture of Iraq, Dr. Hassan Nadhem; the Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, and the Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, Ernesto Ottone Ramirez. Other participants included the President of the Sunni Waqf of Iraq, Dr. Saad Kambash, the Representative of the Christian Waqf, Safaa Saffo, Nicolas Tixier of the Provincial Dominican Order, the Mayor of Mosul, Zuhir Al-Aaraji, and the Governor of Niniveh, Najim Al-Jubori.