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UNESCO, in close coordination with the Iraqi Ministry of Culture and the Iraqi Sunni Endowment and the support of the United Arab Emirates, is administering an international design competition for selecting a winning design entry for the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of the Al Nouri complex in Mosul. The international design competition for this project is starting November 16th, 2020 and wishes to attract submissions from a wide range of architects or teams of architects and engineers from around the world to submit a design proposal for reconstructing and rehabilitating the Al Nouri complex.

Known for being one of the oldest cities in the world, Mosul – ‘the linking point’ in Arabic – is now at the beginning of its recovery process, after the destruction infringed by conflict 2014. 

As part of the ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul’ initiative, UNESCO, the Iraqi Ministry of Culture and the Iraqi Sunni Endowment, with the generous financial support of the United Arab Emirates, have committed to reconstruct and rehabilitate the Al Nouri Complex in Mosul. The reconstruction of this important landmark of the city is of upmost importance to send a strong signal of resilience and hope, as a first step towards social cohesion and reconciliation in the post-conflict Iraq. Indeed, historical sites and monuments are not only a scientific tool of knowledge, but they also represent a powerful symbol of belonging, community, and identity, whose rehabilitation will facilitate recovering the memory of the ‘Moslawis’ that once felt part of a vibrant and emerging city.  

The Al Nouri complex, since its construction in the second half of the XII century, has constituted a core site in the urban life and development of the City of Mosul. In fact, looking at the historical transformations of the city over the centuries, it appears clear how the complex can be classified among those ‘main monuments’ influencing the different street layouts. 

Located in the north-eastern sector of the Old City, with an area of approximately 11.050 sq., the Al Nouri complex includes main landmarks, such as the Al-Hadba Minaret and Al Nouri Prayer hall, a number of secondary buildings and an extensive open area.

Severely damaged in 2017, the complex will be the subject of an integrated rehabilitation program, meant to reconstruct the Al Nouri prayer Hall, and, at the same time, integrate new functions to be hosted in the newly designed or rehabilitated secondary buildings, which will enhance further the role that this important complex has played for the ‘Moslawis’ over the century. The program will also encompass the redesign of the open space and the relation of the complex with the surrounding historical urban fabrics, through its new gates and fences, in order to recover its central function in the urban life of the Old City.

Five prizes will be allocated. The total prize money is $125,000 (USD). The winning entry will be given the first prize with a value of $50,000 followed by a second prize with a value of $30,000 and a third of $20,000. The fourth and fifth prizes will be granted $15,000 and $10,000 respectively. The jury may also allocate honorary mentions at its discretion for entries with special merit.

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