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02/22/2022 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – UNESCO’s restoration plan in Iraq, “Reviving the Spirit of Mosul”, is set to launch phase two next month. The current revival plan includes the renovation of two churches, along with two mosques and 120 homes in Old City. Following the destruction of 80% of Mosul by the Islamic State, UNESCO launched a campaign to promote cultural heritage rehabilitation, education, and cultural life.

The renovation of the four historic landmarks in Mosul is being funded by the United Arab Emirates. The Al-Nouri Mosque and Al-Hadba minaret were first on the list, followed by Al-Saa’a and AL-Tahera churches. The team lead commented, “we had to start with rubble removal and demining. In several places, there were still explosive materials and devices on the ground. It was a complex task. In addition, we discovered there was very little documentation of the monuments. So deep research was needed. Then we had to prepare the architectural design for the interventions.”

The prepping phase for the churches and the minaret is nearly completed, and the team aims to launch official reconstruction next month, which will coincide with the arrival of the UNESCO Chief. The renovated homes, including running water and electricity, will also be returned to their original owners in March.

Mosul held a notable population of Christians before the invasion of the Islamic State. Christians were driven from their homes and oftentimes could not retain the paperwork providing proof of ownership, making it difficult for them to return home. The renovation of Mosul is a crucial step towards building the country’s future and ensuring the ability of the dwindling Christian population to remain.

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