Following the liberation of Mosul, efforts were soon underway to repair and reconstruct the city, its historical and archaeological monuments and iconic symbols.
One of the biggest reconstruction projects in the city is the restoration of the Grand Al-Nuri Mosque, famous for its eight-century-old leaning minaret, which was blown up by Daesh terrorists.
Plans to restore Al-Nuri Mosque and its minaret were unveiled in 2018, as part of ‘Reviving the Spirit of Mosul’ initiative launched by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in partnership with the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, international experts and Nineveh provincial council. The initiative is funded by the United Arab Emirates.
UNESCO says the ‘Reviving the Spirit of Mosul’ initiative seeks “to foster reconciliation and social cohesion in Mosul and its Old Town, through the restoration and reconstruction of Al-Nuri Mosque and its Al-Hadba Minaret as iconic landmarks, as well as a Memorial.”
The initiative also includes skills development to help young men and women from Mosul find new job opportunities through heritage rehabilitation.
Before they could begin the restoration work, the project team began rubble removal and de-mining of the Al Nuri Mosque, before implementing stabilisation measures and beginning to document and preserve architectural remains.
UNESCO announced recently the completion of this important stage in this reconstruction and restoration work, with the focus now being on the cleaning and sorting of the valuable original stones, pieces and materials from the rubble, and taking accurate details and measurements in order to preserve the inscriptions and architectural decorations to maintain the historic character of the site.
The original materials will be part of the new construction process, drawing on the archives in Mosul which document the exact details and measurements of the inscriptions and the original architectural design.
Al-Nuri Mosque, which is located in the heart of the western side of Mosul, has a historical significance and is one of the symbols of the ancient city.
The mosque was built in the 12th century AD and witnessed expansion and reconstruction operations at different stages, the last of which was in the 1940s. It was blown up by Daesh terrorists in 2017.
According to UNESCO, the process of rebuilding Al-Nuri Mosque could take up to 5 years.