A team of eight Egyptian architects has been selected from 123 entrants to a competition to reconstruct the Great Mosque of Al-Nouri in Mosul, which was destroyed in fighting in 2017.
The Unesco-led reconstruction project includes restoring the prayer hall to its original state, but with more natural light and expanded spaces.
The prayer hall, the largest public space in the Old City of Mosul, will contain five entry points from surrounding streets and links to the new spaces via the main hall, through a semi-covered structure that could also serve as an open space for prayer.
The project will also rebuild the enclosed gardens, which were located around the prayer hall prior to its 1944 remodelling.
The "Courtyards Dialogue" design was conceived by four partners: Salah El Din Samir Hareedy, Khaled Farid El-Deeb, Sherif Farag Ebrahim and Tarek Ali Mohamed, and four architects: Noha Mansour Ryan, Hager Abdel Ghani Gad, Mahmoud Saad Gamal and Yousra Muhamed El-Baha.
Audrey Azoulay, Unesco’s director general, said: "The reconstruction of the 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.
"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."
Work is due to begin in autumn 2021.
Images courtesy of Salah El Din Samir Hareedy & team