Mosul's Landmark Great Mosque to Be Rebuilt

Mosul's Landmark Great Mosque to Be RebuiltMosul's Landmark Great Mosque to Be Rebuilt

The UN's cultural agency said a five-year project would restore and reconstruct faithfully the Great Mosque of al-Nuri and its leaning minaret in Mosul, Iraq.

The mosque is where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the self-styled Islamic State terror group, proclaimed the creation of a "caliphate" in 2014.

The extremist group destroyed it three years later as Iraqi troops closed in and all that was left was the base of the minaret and a dome supported by a few pillars.

The United Arab Emirates is to give $50 million to help rebuild the landmark mosque in the Iraqi city blown up by IS, BBC reported.

UNESCO's director general said on Monday its partnership with UAE and Iraqi governments was "the largest and unprecedented cooperation to rebuild cultural heritage in Iraq ever".

The first year of the project will focus on documenting and clearing the site of the Great Mosque, as well as drawing up plans for its reconstruction.

The next four years will focus on the restoration and rebuilding of the famous leaning minaret, the prayer hall and adjacent buildings.

Mosul's historic gardens and other open spaces will also be restored as part of the project, and a memorial and museum built.

  Raising Hope

"The five-year project is not just about rebuilding the mosque, the minaret and the infrastructure, but also about giving hope to young Iraqis," UAE Culture Minister Noura al-Kaabi said during a ceremony at Baghdad's National Museum.

"The millennia-old civilization must be preserved."

The Great Mosque was named after Nur al-Din Mahmoud Zangi—famous for mobilizing and unifying Muslim forces to wage jihad against the Christian Crusaders—who ordered its construction in 1172, shortly before his death.

Despite its connection to such an illustrious figure, all that remained of the original mosque until last year was its minaret, some columns and the mihrab, a niche indicating the direction of Mecca.

It is not clear whether the minaret would be rebuilt with its distinctive lean. UNESCO calculated in 2012 that it was 2.5m off the perpendicular axis.

The minaret was originally 45m high. But by the time the explorer Ibn Battuta visited Mosul in the 14th Century it was already listing significantly.

The cause of the tilt was not fully known. But experts believed it was caused by the prevailing north-westerly winds, the effect of the sun on the bricks on the southern side or the weak gypsum used to hold the bricks together.


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