Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 12 July 2020

Work to begin on UAE-Unesco rehabilitation of Mosul church

The restoration is part of 'Revive the Spirit of Mosul' project, funded by the UAE to rebuild the city's damaged heritage sites

Al Saa'a Church, also known as The Conventual Church of Our Lady of the Hour, will be restorted as part of a joint project by Unesco and the UAE. Courtesy Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development
Al Saa'a Church, also known as The Conventual Church of Our Lady of the Hour, will be restorted as part of a joint project by Unesco and the UAE. Courtesy Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development

Unesco is preparing to begin construction work on Al Saa’a Church in Mosul.

Also known as the Conventual Church of Our Lady of the Hour, the building in the Old City of Mosul was damaged by ISIS during the Battle of Mosul in December 2017.

Built towards the end of the 19th century by Catholic priests of the Dominican order, the church holds significance for the city’s architectural history and heritage.

It has since become a symbol of coexistence in the country.

The Unesco project is funded by the UAE under the Reviving the Spirit of Mosul programme.

The programme to rebuild the city's historic landmarks was launched in 2018 to support the restoration of the 12th century Al Nuri Mosque and its leaning minaret.

Damaged by ISIS in 2017, the church was originally built in the 19th century by the Dominican Order. Courtesy Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development
Damaged by ISIS in 2017, the church was originally built in the 19th century by the Dominican Order. Courtesy Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development

In October last year, the UAE added Al Saa’a Church and the 800-year-old Al Tahera church to the list of structures to be rebuilt in its Year of Tolerance programme.

The UAE has invested $50 million (Dh183.6m) in the projects.

On Friday, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Noura Al Kaabi shared the news on Twitter.

Ms Al Kaabi said that the project's commencement followed discussions with the UN’s joint steering committee and official approval from the Dominican order.

Stabilising and rehabilitation work will include clearing the site and holding a survey to help prepare a detailed design for the church's restoration, including its bell tower.

Local heritage professionals and craftsmen will be involved in the project.

The project will also proceed with the reconstruction of Al Nuri Mosque. The 12th century mosque was also blown up by ISIS in 2017.

The battle to drive out ISIS left about 8 million tonnes of rubble in Mosul. The scale of devastation has set the city back decades.

Heritage sites such as churches and mosques, as well as ancient and medieval sites, are among the casualties of the conflict, which raged for a year from 2016 after ISIS took over the city in 2014.

Thousands of the troops and civilians were killed in the military campaign, which ended when Iraqi Government forces took over the area in 2017.

In 2014, the city became the centre of ISIS’ brutal rule in Iraq.

While the terror group occupied large areas of the country, many locals say that Mosul knows like no other city the full extent of the extremists' control.

Updated: April 27, 2020 12:26 AM

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