Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Rebuilding Mosul

Hamoo al-Qadoo khan being
demolished February 2018
Destruction of Old Town areas of Mosul caused by Iraqi shelling and US airstrikes causes new dilemmas for developers (From: On Behalf Of Ihsan Fethi):
Dear Iraqi Archaeologists, Architects and Friends, Salam. Obviously, my plea to the Iraqi Army and the Americans, back in March 2017, not to bomb and destroy the Old Town of Mosul in order to "liberate" it from ISIS, went unheeded. On the contrary, the indiscriminate artillery and areal bombardment by the Iraqi Army and Americans, exceeded my worst expectations. Old Mosul is now largely ruined and very few historic monuments and houses survived this massacre. So, when I heard that several days ago, the surviving 19th century Hamoo al-Qadoo khan (Built in 1882 and occupied an area of some 3800 square meters) was deliberately bulldozed in broad daylight I was totally dismayed at this disregard to our cultural heritage. Although this khan is not particularly architecturally impressive it remained, until few days ago, perhaps the only remaining khan of its type in Mosul. I was even more alarmed, however, when I heard from reliable sources in Mosul that some rich individuals and real-estate developers and speculators, have begun to buy many damaged properties, especially in the historic "Qulaiat" area and its picturesque riverfront, in order to replace them with modern commercial towers- Dubai Style! The severely damaged historic area of Mosul must be restored to its former form and land use. I know this is an incredibly difficult task and would perhaps take a long time, much effort, financial and huge technical resources. Those who are in charge of the future of Old Mosul have not yet revealed their vision and plans. I am confident and hopeful that UNESCO-Iraq will play a positive role in restoring the Old Town and should oppose any attempt by Mosul Municipality and other key-players to turn it into a western-style downtown full of high-rise commercial towers. Naturally, a conservation and restoration plan must be prepared as quickly as possible which would keep the overall historic urban scale, materials, and pattern of alleyways, houses, mosques, churches etc., while accepting the introduction of some inevitable modern facilities and infrastructure. For example, should we accept the introduction of a new pedestrian path or corniche in Qulaiat along the Tigris for everybody to enjoy or allow former houses to be built directly on the Tigris? Or would the Plan allow shops to be introduced on the ground floor of houses in similar fashion to many historic cities in the world? Would the Plan insist on courtyard typology for new houses? This Conservation Plan, which must be prepared by experts who know Mosul in detail, should address these very tough issues and suggest some convincing solutions. It is no easy task but must be done before any bulldozing takes place! Ihsan Fethi Iraqi Architect and Heritage Expert
Here is a before and after aerial view of the same spot. Quite tragic. 

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.