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Idlib authorities start restoration of historic mosque

The Ministry of Awqaf (Endowments) affiliated with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s Syrian Salvation Authorities has launched into the restoration of the Nice Mosque of Idlib, broken by Syrian authorities shelling in the course of the decade-long warfare. Cracks and holes within the partitions have led to their partial collapse.

The work is being carried out below the supervision of the Directorate of Antiquities and Museums (affiliated with the Salvation authorities) and the Idlib Antiquities Heart.

The Nice Mosque is likely one of the extra outstanding spiritual monuments in Syria. It dates to the Mamluk period from 658 hijri (1259-1260) to 922 hijri (1516), throughout which many congregational mosques have been constructed; these have been characterised by domes, corridors and air flow holes.

The mosque, which extends over an space of 1,030 sq. meters (11,000 sq. ft), has been renovated a number of occasions, together with in 1591 below Ottoman Grand Vizier Muhammad Pasha al-Koberli; one other renovation occurred in 1985.

The initiative to ​​restore the mosque and protect its cultural heritage was launched in January. It goals to restore the damages and cracks in its ceiling and partitions, that are largely constructed of stones and dust, amid considerations over a bigger collapse that threatens the security of worshipers amid the unfold of moisture in its arches and columns.

Ayman al-Nabo, head of the Directorate of Antiquities and Museums in Idlib, instructed Al-Monitor, “The Nice Mosque is presently witnessing the biggest restoration operations since its development to revive its historic facet and spotlight its magnificence, which was tarnished by earlier restoration operations, particularly people who occurred in the course of the Ottoman period as a result of cladding of the sanctuary from the within with concrete and lime in addition to ceramics in some components.”

Nabo mentioned, “The minaret and domes, nevertheless, preserved their form. The previous sanctuary consists of two corridors containing 12 domes. Within the Nineties, a 3rd hall was added whereas the variety of domes rose to 18. The mosque is registered within the information of archaeological buildings on the Directorate-Normal for Antiquities and Museums [of the Damascus government] to make sure its preservation. The mosque has an octagonal minaret with a top of 18 meters [59 feet]. The Idlib Division of Antiquities [affiliated with the Salvation Government] is making ready a three-dimensional mannequin of the minaret to be documented by worldwide establishments specializing in historical past.” 

Nabo added, “We’re searching for to revive a historic spirit to the mosque by eradicating the modifications that tarnished its form, restoring its historic facet and highlighting its magnificence and heritage stones and decorations to spotlight the domes and arches inside it. The umbrella [large pieces of fabric that provide shade] positioned in its courtyard may be eliminated with a purpose to permit some daylight to revive a non secular ambiance on the mosque. Now we have added a number of new rooms to the mosque by constructing partitions to make the most of extra areas, and we’re conducting a close-by examine to construct new domes, corridors and a funeral corridor. The restoration work is carried out by means of the Ministry of Awqaf, Name and Steering within the Salvation Authorities and below the supervision of the Directorate of Museums and Antiquities and the Idlib Antiquities Heart. The initiative is just not restricted to this mosque alone, because the Ministry of Awqaf in Idlib, below the supervision of its engineering division, is searching for to rehabilitate a number of different broken mosques.”

ِA supply in command of the restoration challenge on the Awqaf Directorate of the Ministry of Awqaf in Idlib instructed Al-Monitor on situation of anonymity, “We coordinated with the Awqaf Directorate in Idlib to gather in-kind and money donations from folks wishing to revive their mosque, and we’re engaged on finishing the restoration course of by Eid al-Adha [which falls on July 20]. What makes our initiative particular is that it seeks to revive the primary historic form of the mosque through the use of a clay-like substance to color the partitions. We’re emptying the mud and dust layered within the environment of stones to ventilate the mosque and the partitions with a purpose to subsequently begin a therapy with preservative supplies akin to white cement and high quality sand combined with a substance utilized in paint elements, which helps shut cracks in partitions, to present a extra historic look and to keep away from bugs. A large coating course of with a shiny lacquer will subsequently comply with to forestall moisture and to enhance the general look.”

It might be mentioned that Idlib’s monuments and antiquities have been below siege over the previous decade of warfare. A variety of them have been broken or destroyed throughout clashes that erupted between the Syrian authorities and the opposition and because of the extreme bombing of the town. A lot of antiquities have been additionally stolen in the course of the battle, whereas a number of archaeological websites in Idlib have been was protected havens for displaced Syrians escaping the bombing.

On June 11, Uzbek jihadis affiliated with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham destroyed some antiquities, together with statues within the Idlib Museum, claiming they have been “false idols” that shouldn’t be displayed. The Salvation Authorities had reopened the Idlib Museum below the supervision of quite a lot of archaeologists in August 2018. The museum serves as a vacation spot for college students of the historical past division at Idlib College and college students from different departments who wish to see antiquities. It additionally serves as a vacation spot for college subject journeys.

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