Reconstruction begins on Mosul’s Al-Tahera Syriac-Catholic Church

Reconstruction and rehabilitation works have begun on Iraq’s Al-Tahera Church in the Old City of Mosul in close coordination with the UAE and local authorities.

Phase 1 of the project, which included clearing the rubble and securing the project site for reconstruction, has been completed, according to the UNESCO authorities.

The reconstruction works will be quite complex, as large parts of the structure’s arcades and its external walls have been damaged. Local contractors, under the supervision of skilled experts, have been chosen to do the work.

In addition, open bidding to select a design proposal for the reconstruction of the Church and annexed cloister has been launched.  

The Al-Tahera Church, which was built in 1859 and opened in 1862, is located in the heart of Mosul’s Old City, formerly defined by the Ottoman city walls on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite ancient Nineveh. Its multiple altars, dining room, and two sacristy rooms set it aside from other churches of the same period.

Commenting on reconstruction works, the UAE Minister of Culture and Youth, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, said: “This step sends a message of hope to the community in Mosul that has always been an incubator for religious and intellectual discourse. Through our restorative efforts with UNESCO, the UAE aims to rebuild various places of worship and allow displaced Moslawis to return to their homes.”

Al Kaabi pointed out that the reconstruction of Al-Tahera Church does not only cement Mosul’s position as a hub of rich cultural heritage, but also restores religious diversity in the Old City.

“The UAE’s restoration project seeks to empower Moslawi youth by creating job opportunities, providing vocational and technical training, and enhancing the capabilities of craftsmen in the field of preservation of cultural heritage through a strategic project that is being implemented in cooperation with ICCROM,” Al Kaabi added.

UNESCO is fostering reconciliation and social cohesion in Mosul through the restoration and reconstruction of emblematic historical sites as part of the UN agency-led international initiative “Revive the Spirit of Mosul,” according to the state-run news agency, Wam.

The project is funded by the United Arab Emirates and beyond the rehabilitation of architectural landmarks, it includes on-the-job training for young professionals; strengthening the capacities of craftspeople, including masons, carpenters, stone carvers, metalsmiths; job creation opportunities; and technical and vocational education.

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