UNESCO will soon start reconstruction of the Syriac Catholic Al-Tahera Church in Mosul, Iraq, that was severely damaged in 2017. More than a church, Al Tahera is a symbol of the diversity that has been the story of Mosul for centuries.
An iconic symbol woven into the history of Mosul, Al-Tahera Church was built in 1859 and opened in 1862. The Church is located in the heart of the old city, formerly defined by the Ottoman city walls on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite ancient Nineveh. Its multiple altars, dining room and two sacristy rooms set it aside from other churches of the same period. It already underwent renovation about 100 years after its construction.
The reconstruction work is quite complex as large parts of its arcades were destroyed, as well as its external walls. In addition to the demolition of the remaining portions of its concrete roof, the early stages of work will require clearing rubble and removing landmines from the 650m2 site. Local contractors, under the supervision of skilled experts, are doing the work.
UNESCO is fostering reconciliation and social cohesion in Mosul through the restoration and reconstruction of emblematic historical sites as part of UNESCO’s led international initiative “Revive the Spirit of Mosul”. The rehabilitation of this church is important not only because of its value as cultural heritage, but also as a testimony to the diversity of the city, a proud crossroads of cultures and a peaceful haven for different religious communities over the centuries.
Students in the departments of archaeology, architecture and engineering of the University of Mosul will benefit from taking part in the process of restoration of the landmark buildings.
This project is funded by the United Arab Emirates and beyond the rehabilitation of architectural landmarks, it includes:
- On the-job training for young professionals
- Strengthening the capacities of craftspeople (masons, carpenters, stone carvers, metalsmiths, etc.)
- Job creation opportunities
- Technical and vocational education