IRAQ: Rebuilding Mosul, residents restore destroyed archaeological houses

MOSUL, Iraq – In an effort to revive the historical heritage of Mosul and to rid the years of war and destruction by terrorist organization ISIS, Mosul residents in cooperation with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and local NGOs, have carried out several projects to renovate and rebuild the city’s archaeological houses, especially in Mosul’s Old City and the Shanasheel.

USAID is supporting reconstruction efforts to restore to former glory Mosul’s Old City; “a microcosm where different groups have coexisted peacefully for centuries. The area is home to the city’s oldest markets, which have played a key role in driving the local economy while also connecting the city’s different communities.” The Old City narrow streets were ISIS’ last stand. Its defeat had a devastating impact on the area which was transformed into piles of rubble.

The present dominance of Iran-backed Shia militias is a threat to the historical sites of Old Mosul.

The Iraqi term Shanasheel (Mashrabiya) refers to the large wooden facades attached to the balconies of houses and buildings, often engraved with traditional religious inscriptions. The Shanasheel in Mosul houses range in age from 50 to 250 years. Because of the war in the region, these houses have suffered a lot of destruction.

Artists are restoring the spirit of the Shanasheel by putting their own touches and aesthetic views to Mosul’s devastated neighborhoods.


Many more historical buildings of once mosaic Mosul need rebuilding; “Up to the mid-19th century, Meskinta was a small church. It was totally renovated and transformed in 1851, at the instigation of the Chaldean Patriarch Joseph VI Audo.”

“After the Chaldean patriarchate of Diyarbakır (in Turkey) was transferred to Mosul in 1830, the first patriarchal church was Sham’ûn al-Safâ, followed by Meskinta. At this time it required renovation and embellishment work… Two Chaldean patriarchs are buried in Meskinta: Pierre Élie XII Abbolyonan, who died in 1894 and Emmanuel II Thomas, who passed away in 1947.” @MosulEye