NINEVEH-IRAQ: Mosul cleaning team clears debris and waste from Nineveh Wall and Bab Shams, Iraq’s national treasures

NINEVEH, MOSUL, Iraq – The Nineveh wall in Mosul is 2,700 years old and one of Iraq’s national archaeological and cultural treasures. Large parts of the wall, located on the eastern outskirts of the city of Mosul, were destroyed in 2015 by terrorist ISIS. The backward ideology of the Islamist extremists despised everything belonging to the time before the advent of the Islamic era – the time before the coming of Islam is called Jahiliya or “Age of Ignorance”. ISIS savagery destroyed a trove of mankind’s archaeological structures and cultural artifacts.

Once the Assyrian city of Nineveh was the most important city of the world, capital of the mighty Assyrian Empire. After liberation from ISIS, Iraqi authorities neglected the archaeological site and its ancient walls turned into a landfill. Now, a team of young residents dedicated to cleaning their city of Mosul, embarked on a major cleaning project for the Nineveh Wall and the archaeological Sun Gate or Bab Shams.

The team of resident youth of Mosul cleared about 1,800 tons of debris and waste that ran along the wall. The team worked in cooperation with the municipality of Mosul, the Nineveh Electricity Directorate, and the Nineveh Antiquities and Heritage Inspectorate. It was supported and funded by USAID. The cleaning operation was supervised by an antiquities expert to ensure no damage was done to the archaeological monuments.

The sites that have been cleaned by the diligent team so far are Bashtabiya Castle (12th century; partially destroyed by ISIS), Karasaray Citadel, Baroud Khanna, al-Shat tomb, the Syriac Catholic Church of Mar Touma, and now the Nineveh Wall and its Bab Shams. The Sun Gate or Bab Shams is one of the most important and prominent former gates to the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh – Surith/Surayt or native Syriac: Ninwa or ܢܸܢܘܵܐ..