Paris, Apr 15 (EFE).- A design pitch from a team of eight Egyptian architects won the backing of UNESCO for the reconstruction of the historic Al-Nouri Mosque in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which was almost completely destroyed by the Islamic State terror organization in 2017.
The mosque stood for some 850 years and was famous for its leaning minaret. The IS blew the religious building up during its retreat from the city in northern Iraq.
UNESCO announced Thursday that the Egyptian architects had been selected from 123 submissions as part of the organization’s Revive the Spirit of Mosul project. The winning project proposal has been dubbed Courtyards Dialogue.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said: “The reconstruction of Al-Nouri Mosque complex, a historical site that is part of Mosul’s fabric and history, will be a landmark in the process of advancing the war-torn city’s reconciliation and social cohesion.
“Heritage sites and historical monuments are powerful catalysts for people’s sense of belonging, of community, and identity. They are key to reviving the spirit of Mosul and of Iraq as a whole.”
The reconstruction project is scheduled to kick off in autumn 2021.
The plan is to rebuild Al-Nouri’s historic prayer hall and the organic integration of the complex, the largest public space in the Old City of Mosul, and to improve the use of natural light and expand spaces for women.
It also includes the creation of enclosed gardens, evocative of the historic houses and gardens that stood around the prayer hall before it was remodelled in 1944.
The winning architects said: “Our team worked with high passion to submit a project that primarily addresses the need for social cohesion and revival of souls.”
“We are looking forward to completing the design and to helping the revival of the Old City of Mosul.”
The international design competition for the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Al-Nouri complex in Mosul was launched in November 2020 by UNESCO and prepared in coordination with the Iraqi Ministry of Culture and the Iraqi Sunni Endowment, with the support of the United Arab Emirates, all of them members of the project’s Joint Steering Committee.
Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, the UAE’s Minister of Culture and Youth, said that “reaching this important milestone has brought us closer to the realization of a shared commitment to restore social cohesion and a spirit of fraternity and tolerance in Mosul once again.” EFE