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UAE funds largest cultural restoration project in history of Iraq

By Tom Anstey    30 Apr 2018
Over the course of the next five years, one of the project's main objectives will be to restore Mosul's Al Nuri Grand Mosque

The restoration of Iraq's cultural heritage has been given a huge boost following a US$50.4m (€41.7m, £36.7m) donation from the United Arab Emirates to restore damaged heritage sites in Mosul.

Following years of turmoil in the Middle East, a 2017 military campaign succeeded in ridding Iraq of ISIS, with the terrorist group left controlling no territory in the country.

Though still a very tumultuous region, a decrease in violence in between regular cycles of warfare over a decade has led to a period of recovery for the country.

The city of Mosul, which was devastated under ISIS's control before being liberated in July 2017, has received the financial aid. As part of an agreement between Unesco and the governments of the UAE and Iraq, it will be used for what has been called largest cultural restoration project in Iraq's history.

Over the course of the next five years, one of the project's main objectives will be to restore Mosul's Al Nuri Grand Mosque, an iconic part of the city built in 1172 and even featured on Iraq's 10,000 dinar note. The mosque, which was blown up by ISIS, will be completely restored to its former glory, including its 145-foot-tall (44.2m) minaret tower.

“The UAE supports the efforts of our Iraqi brothers in developments, stability and pushing the wheels of reconstruction especially for cultural and historic sites," said Noura Al Kaabi, minister of culture for the UAE. "Heritage is one of the cornerstones of civilisation and as part of this, the image of Al Nuri Mosque will again become synonymous with hope and cultural revival".

Construction will take some time, according to authorities, with the first year of the project dedicated to clearing rubble from the site of the mosque and minaret, and to completing architectural studies. Further sites in Mosul are also on the redevelopment agenda, including ancient gardens, a memorial site and a museum.

Iraq  cultural heritage  United Arab Emirates  Mosul  Al Nuri Grand Mosque  UAE  heritage 
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