A visual of a mosque in Mosul

Destroyed Al-Nouri Mosque complex to be rebuilt in Mosul

UNESCO has unveiled plans to reconstruct the ruined Al-Nouri Mosque complex in Mosul, Iraq, with enclosed gardens, perforated brick buildings and more facilities for women.

Set to begin construction late in 2021, the project follows the destruction of the 12th-century mosque in 2017 by the jihadist group Islamic State during the Battle of Mosul.

The proposal, named Courtyards Dialogue, was drawn up by the Egyptian architects Salah El Din Samir Hareedy, Khaled Farid El-Deeb, Sherif Farag Ebrahim, Tarek Ali Mohamed, Noha Mansour Ryan, Hager Abdel Ghani Gad, Mahmoud Saad Gamal and Yousra Muhamed El-Baha.

Project to play part in "war-torn city's reconciliation"

Courtyard Dialogue was selected through an architectural competition held by UNESCO as part of its Revive the Spirit of Mosul project.

As its name suggests, the project is an attempt to rehabilitate the city of Mosul after it was heavily damaged during its occupation by Islamic State militants between 2014 and 2017.

An aerial visual of a mosque in Mosul
The new Al-Nouri Mosque will have brick buildings and enclosed gardens

"The reconstruction of Al-Nouri Mosque complex, a historical site that is part of Mosul's fabric and history, will be a landmark in the process of advancing the war-torn city's reconciliation and social cohesion," explained Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General.

"Heritage sites and historical monuments are powerful catalysts for people's sense of belonging, of community, and identity. They are key to reviving the spirit of Mosul and of Iraq as a whole."

Prayer hall will be rebuilt as it was before

As part of the Courtyards Dialogue project, the Al-Nouri Prayer hall will be reconstructed to "look as it did before," integrating parts of the building that survived the destruction.

However, it will reopen with more access to natural light, alongside an adjoining semi-covered structure that will provide more spaces for women and dignitaries.

The mosque's iconic leaning minaret will also be rebuilt as it was before.

Secondary buildings across the site will be clad in perforated brick and include facilities for education, social and cultural activities.

UNESCO hopes the spaces will "serve the inhabitants of Mosul in ways that go beyond its principal religious function".

Five entrances to be built around complex

To ensure the reconstructed Al-Nouri Mosque complex integrates with the city, it will be rebuilt with open public spaces accessible via five entry points.

A mix of enclosed courtyards will be introduced as a nod to the historic houses and gardens that previously occupied the site, prior to a remodel of the mosque in 1944.

Elsewhere in Iraq, New York architect Daniel Libeskind is currently developing a Kurdish museum featuring his signature sharp angles and interlocking volumes.

Another major reconstruction project taking place is in Paris, France, where the Notre-Dame Cathedral is being rebuilt following a devastating fire in April 2019. President Emmanuel Macron has stated that the cathedral's iconic spire will be rebuilt exactly as it was before.

Visuals are by Salah El Din Samir and team.