DUBAI, Sept 21 (NNN-WAM) – Government officials and NGOs are taking the initiative to restore vital historical sites across the Middle East, after years of destruction by militant groups.
The UN cultural agency UNESCO, recently announced that the reconstruction of Al-Nouri Mosque — which was blown-up by the Daesh in June, 2017 — in the Iraqi city of Mosul, will start at the beginning of next year.
Launched in 2018, the mosque restoration plan will be the most eye-catching part of a $100-million UNESCO-led heritage reconstruction, called “Revive the Spirit of Mosul.”
The timeline of the restoration plan for the 12th-century mosque, famed for its leaning minaret, was finalised during a meeting in Paris, between UNESCO and Iraqi government officials.
“What they call the Arab Spring is really the Arab Fall because many historic sites in Iraq, Syria and Libya have been erased,” said Samir Saddi, founder and director of the Beirut-based architecture and design institute – ARCADE.
Saddi sees restoration in the Middle East as a costly, recurrent endeavour, as extremists have repeatedly targeted historical monuments due to their importance to local communities.
Saddi said, the challenge for the Middle East is not only restoration but also how to make sure this kind of destruction does not happen again, and how to preserve monuments and traditional architecture.
Daesh leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, declared a caliphate from the Al-Nouri Mosque, in the summer of 2014, only for his own fighters to blow it up three years later, as Iraqi government forces closed in.– NNN-WAM