Culture

UNESCO announces five year plan to rebuild Al-Nouri Mosque

Iraq

In a joint Iraq/UAE effort in cooperation with UNESCO, the plans to rebuild the al-Nouri Mosque and the Hadbaa Minaret in Mosul have been announced. The reconstruction will take 5 years and cost about $50 million dollars. The UAE has pledged to donate that amount for the process.

A delegation of representatives from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the European Union (EU) and the UAE’s Ministry of Culture, visited the Old City of Mosul recently to discuss and implement a five year plan to rebuild the al-Nouri Mosque and its famous leaning Hadbaa minaret.

The delegation occurred following a $50 million pledge from the UAE’s Minister of Culture, Noura al-Kaabi, to rebuild the mosque, its surrounding gardens and nearby houses.

“The five year project is not just about rebuilding the mosque, the minaret and the infrastructure, but also about giving hope to young Iraqis,” al-Kaabi said. “The millennia-old civilisation must be preserved.”

The deal was signed by al-Kaabi and her Iraqi counterpart, Faryad Rawanduzi, last month.

“The reconstruction of the Hadbaa minaret will begin immediately after the month of Ramadan,” said the head of UNESCO in Iraq, Louise Haxthausen. “The aim of [current] works is to prepare for the removal of mines and rubble so that actual work can begin later.”

The reconstruction of the al-Nouri Mosque and the Hadbaa minaret is a flagship component of UNESCO’s broader heritage restoration initiative, known as “Revive the Spirit of Mosul.”

The EU, for its part, sent a representative to assist in the supervision of the project to ensure that all plans preserve the city’s cultural heritage. “We support UNESCO because we want to make sure that the reconstruction of the old city is done correctly,” said the EU’s Mosul representative.

In July 2014, the mosque was used as a venue by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to announce the formation of his self-proclaimed caliphate in his first recorded public appearance. The destruction of the mosque in June 2017 had been anticipated by some Iraqi military commanders, whose forces were just 150 yards away at the time, due to the symbolic nature of recapturing the site.

According to the Mayor of Mosul, the project will provide crucial rehabilitation for Mosul’s young people, who endured life under the rule of ISIS, through employment and the development of construction skills. As the rebuilding of Mosul continues, additional local skilled workers will be a welcome development in the city.