Old Mosul’s heritage has become a victim of the violence in the city as part of the 2013-2017-armed conflict with ISIS, which resulted in excessive damage to its historic fabric heritage and dignity of its communities who became displaced. The traditional arts, crafts and festivals of the communities, upon which their livelihoods depend, are largely disappearing. In response to the sustainable development goals of UNESCO's "Revive thespirit of Mosul", and the objectives of the sub-theme “Heritage”, this project aims tocounter this cycle of violence and ethnic and sectarian division by engaging with localcommunities to help sustainably preserve the communities’ intangible heritage and revivenotions of shared heritage and historic co-existence.
Throughout its history, Mosul has always been a multi-cultural city, its name derives from this trait – the name Mosul comes from wasel which means ‘linking’ in Arabic. Mosul is home to more than four different sects and ethnicities; the City is predominantly Sunni, with Shi'i, Yezidis, Christians, Turkmans, and Kurdish minorities. These sects each have individualidentities and heritage, but these identities also form part of Mosul’s complex sharedcultural heritage that has changed and shifted over time. Heritage can be both inclusive and peaceful and well as exclusive and marginalising. The multi-cultural identity of Mosulhas recently been over shadowed by armed and political conflict which have heighteneddivisions and distrust within the City.
This project will help to build an understanding of human and cultural heritage ofdamaged post-war historic cities in Iraq, through recording and preserving their disappearing heritage practices, crafts and festivities. Utilising innovative methodologies grounded in digital humanities, the research team will develop a strategic and creative practices in heritage recovery and memorialisation through the digital recording and research of six conflict-damaged physical heritage assets/areas and the collation, represervationand presentation of aspects of intercommunity intangible cultural heritage as amechanism of socio-economic recovery centred around community engagement, coproduction and heritage preservation as part of the Mosul rebuilding programme.
The project aims to document and contribute towards preserving the tangible and intangible heritage of Old Mosul. In regard to documenting the tangible heritage, we will research the archives, historic records and images as well as digital and visual surveys to develop digital records and archives of Old Mosul's urban fabric including detailed digital documentation of five historic structures:
1 - Al-Hadba’a Minaret.
2 - Al-Sa’a Church.
3 - Ahmadeya Synagogue.
4 - Souq Bab Al-Saray
5 - Khan Al-Gumriq
The first three structures are Muslim, Christian and Jewish relgious buildings highlighting the cultural diversity of Old Mosul. Bab Al-Saray, the forth structure, is the largest hertiage marketplace in Old Mosul and it hosts several specialised marketplaces and handicrafts. Khan Al-Gumriq is the only hertiage structure in Old Mosul's market zone that has survived destruction and demolishion, and is still in its original conditions.
To understand the deep culture and intangible heritage of the Old city, we trace cultural practices, traditions and heritage that used to define the spirit of the urban fabric. We work with local communities to record memories, disappearing crafts, arts, trades, and folklore that used to define the distinctive life in the historic city.