About the Project
The project Monuments of Mosul in Danger (Ohrožená architektura města Mosulu) – supported by the Oriental Institute, The Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, and the research programme Strategy AV21 of The Czech Academy of Sciences – was launched in reaction to a serious threat to the Mosul architectural sites from ISIS (Daesh), who seized the town in June 2014. Since then, dozens of historical sites have been razed to the ground or severely damaged. Monuments of diverse types, such as mosques, madrasas, mausolea, graveyards, churches and monasteries have been subject to destruction.
Mosul architecture has only been marginally researched by Western scholars. Because of this, we are not aware of how much world cultural heritage we have been deprived of. The first and only systematic survey of Islamic, Christian, and Jewish monuments in Mosul was conducted by Ernst Herzfeld in 1907-1908. Subsequently, only several aspects of Mosul medieval architecture have been written about by, among others, Ugo Monneret de Villard and Eugen Wirth. Mosul architecture has been studied by many outstanding Iraqi researchers (e.g., Sa‛id al-Diwahji, Tariq Jawad Janabi, Ahmad Qasim al-Jum‛a, Ahmad al-Sufi, al-Kubaisi, al-Tutunchi, and others). Their research, however, remains largely unrecognized by the Western historical and archeological discourse.
The project Monuments of Mosul in Danger has four aims:
1. monitoring destructive activities in Mosul by means of satellite imagery; identification of destroyed sites; creation of an interactive map of destroyed monuments
2. architectural and historical analysis of destroyed monuments by means of preserved visual (photographs, documentary films) and plan documentation as well as historical and recent descriptions published by Iraqi scholars (the collected documentation will be made accessible for further research)
3. mapping of all identifiable extant historical monuments in the town, which will be made accessible through a complex interactive map
4. analysing the ideological background of the destruction (religious edicts, rationale, historical precedences)
Watch the Making of Project documentary which was presented at the exhibition "Monuments of Mosul in Danger" (Gallery of Science nad Art, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague).
Historical and architectural data on Christian monuments will be supplied by the Paul van Moorsel Institute, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Their work is funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).