The Revival of Mar Behnam Monastery

The French organization “Fraternité en Irak” with funds from ALIPH have finished the reconstruction of one of the most important monasteries in Nineveh “Mar Behnam Monastery”.

Monastery of the Martyrs Mar Behnam and Marth Sarah (Syriac: ܕܝܪܐ ܕܡܪܝ ܒܗܢܡ ܘܡܪܬ ܣܪܐ‎, Arabic: دير مار بهنام‎, Mar Behnam Monastery), is a Syriac Catholic monastery in northern Iraq in the village Khidr Ilyas close to the town of Beth Khdeda. The tomb of Mar Benham was heavily damaged on March 19, 2015 by the Islamic State, and the exterior murals were desecrated in all of the monastery’s buildings. Repair work restoring the monastery and the tomb of Mar Behnam to its pre-ISIS condition was completed by early December 2018.The French organization “Fraternité en Irak” with funds from ALIPH have finished the reconstrection of one of the most important monasteries in Nineveh “Mar Behnam Monastery”

Église Notre-Dame de l’Heure is under reconstruction by UAE and UNESCO

With generous funds from UAE, UNESCO have started the reconstruction of The Our Lady of the Hour Church (Église Notre-Dame de l’Heure ) also known as the name of the Latin Church, was a Catholic church in the center of Mosul, in northern Iraq. Built in the 1870s by the Dominican Fathers, it was especially famous for its bell donated by the Empress Eugenia de Montijo, for which it was sometimes called the Clock Church. It was damaged in a 2006 bombing.

Surviving Architecture of Mosul: An appeal to ALIPH foundation to preserve the surviving Arches of Mosul.

Surviving Architecture of Mosul: An appeal to ALIPH foundation to preserve the surviving Arches of Mosul.

I, Omar Mohammed, appeal to the Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH) Foundation to protect and preserve the SURVIVING unique arches and passages of Old Mosul.

As the revival of Mosul’s heritage will reveal keys to humanity’s resistance against violence and division. It will reveal that the only way to live together is by believing in diversity as a mosaic, where each distinct piece is integral to the revelation of the whole, where any missing piece will in the end rob all of their shared destiny. 

The protection and promotion of this heritage in the contemporary culture will create safe spaces of communication between diverse groups of people. When you feel your identity is protected, you will act in a responsible way before the entire community.

Al Salihiyya: The Revival of an Ottoman Hammam in Old Mosul.

Hammam al Salihiyya, one of the old Ottoman Hammams in Old Mosul, built in 1755and was destroyed during the battle to retake the city from ISIS.

The owner himself decided with the support of the local community to rebuild and revive the Hammam for its historical importance. Designs have already been proposed and prepared by local companies and architects to preserve the same structure of the Hammam.

Since the Iran-backed governor of Mosul have attempted to demolish the Old City to build a hub of markets and “Modern City” full of restaurants and the people responded in promising to prevent any attempts to demolish the heritage of Mosul.

The design of the Hammam

In Pictures: The Revival Of Sham’un Al-Safa (Simon Peter) School in Old Mosul

Sham’un Al-Safa (Simon Peter) is one of the oldest official schools for Christian in Mosul established and attached to oldest church with the same name ( built circa 3rd century). The school was established in 1855 by Audishu V Khayyath (1827 – 1899) after he returned from Rome where he finished his studies in the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.

The school was well known for its role to provide the Christian community of Mosul with modern education.

It was severely damaged during the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS. After the libration, an initiative by Young Muslim Mosulis was launched to revive the school, and after few days the school was completely recovered.

In the photos you can see how the school has revived and it is important to mention that such initiatives are not new or not a surprise for the Mosuli community that ISIS tried to destroy. Its coexistence is deep into the society of Mosul but even with that, we need to support more interaction and to convince the Christian to return back and contribute to the revival of Mosul.

I invite the Fr. Najeeb Michail the Archbishop of Mosul to call for a general congress for the leaders of different faiths in Mosul to sit together and discuss the future of Mosul to address the real problems in order to find a better social code between all the communities of Mosul and to contribute to the protection and preservation of our heritage.

Patriarch Abdisho V. KhayatJS.jpg
Chaldäisch Kath. Patriarch Abdisho V. Khayat
Audishu V Khayyath meets with Yazidi leaders in Mosul, c. 1895

First bookstore in Old Mosul reopened

Daud Salim the owner of Al Sham Bookstore has reopened his shop in al Najafi street. Daud is well known by researchers and intellectuals in Mosul for providing books in all fields of knowledge. I met with Daud several times in Cairo in 2011 when he was purchasing books for his bookstore, he spent lots of money which was all lost after his shop was destroyed. His bookstore was open during ISIS and we kept secretly buying books from him as ISIS forced all bookstores to sell only religious books. In early 2015 ISIS executed the owner of Al Arabi bookstore in Najafi street for selling (Anti Islam books).

His bookstore was destroyed during the military operation to retake Mosul form ISIS. The rehabilitation of Old Mosul is essential in any efforts to defeat ISIS. Without rebuilding the Old City, they people will lose their cultural identity.

The Mouslis are determined to protect and preserve the heritage of Old Mosul as the city is not just “Stones” as the former governor Akub said and is not for sell as the current one is trying to do. The Old City is where our history was made.

Video: Two years after the liberation, the centre of Mosul’s bookshops and stationers is still in ruins

Two years since Mosul was liberated, but half of the city is still in ruins with no clear plan for reconstructions.

We walked through al Najafi street, the center of Mosul’s bookshops and stationery and the distentions for Mosul’ intellectuals. We saw only one bookshop has reopened while 100s of shops are still closed.

Al Najafi Street used to be a hub for bookshops. But it was destroyed in the military operation to retake the city from the Islamic State group in June last year.

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