17. 02. 2017

The exhibition The Threatened Architecture of The City Of Mosul acquaints visitors with the architectural heritage of the city, the fate of which has been seriously marked by the ideologically motivated attacks of the radical group of the Islamic State. The exhibition exposition, in which archaeological and historical research merge with modern technologies, shows the current possibilities of examining architectural monuments “remotely”, mainly through data of remote sensing of the Earth coming for instance from American spy satellite systems. Mosul’s destroyed monuments this thanks to Czech specialists regain their original if virtual appearance. Visitors have a unique chance to become acquainted with forgotten Mosul architecture and also look into the activities of the Oriental Institute of the CAS. 8 February 31 March 2017, Gallery of Science and Arts, Czech Academy of Sciences, Národní 3, Prague.

On Tuesday, 10 June 2014, the radical organization the Islamic State occupied the Northern Iraqi metropolis Mosul. The proclamation of the new kalifate, issued three days later, ends with the words: And now you should walk proudly and look forward to a just and peaceful Islamic reign (…), and you will see how great a difference it will be as compared to the unjust secular reign. The result of the two-year “just reign” of the so-called Islamic State is 12,000 killed inhabitants of Mosul, 1.5 million exiles and an entirely devastated city, which before the war was one of the most valuable heritage centres in the Near East.

The most valuable buildings, indicative of the diverse ethnic and religious history of the city, fell victim to the cultural genocide of Mosul. A group of Czech historians and archaeologists and their Iraqi collaborators have decided to systematically map these cultural losses. The aim of their project, which has been resolved since 2015 by the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (program Strategy AV21) is to gather maximum information on nearly fifty deliberately demolished Islamic and Christian buildings, but also the architecture that is still standing. After a scientific evaluation, the data acquired will be provided to the institutions that will be involved in the post-war reconstruction of the city.

The exhibition The Threatened Architecture of The City Of Mosul presents the first results of the project and is its second attempt to restore digitally the ​​irretrievably ruined values of city. Where the surviving documents allow accurate digital models of buildings have been created, but the source base is very uneven: Mosul’s historic architecture despite its undoubted artistic value has not become the subject of systematic documentation and in-depth study; since 2003 the city has been virtually inaccessible to Western scholars for security reasons. Some abandoned buildings have not been documented even by a single photograph and today it is impossible to determine their artistic and historical significance.

Although the tragedy of the Mosul urbicide has not ended by far and it is still early to count the damages, the authors of the exhibition hope that individual objects can still be found among the blasted and still standing historical dominants of the city, which can be conserved after the war to various extents and return to them at least part of their original value and beauty.

Authors of the exhibition:
Ondřej Beránek and Miroslav Melčák, Oriental Institute of the CAS, v. v. i.
Karel Nováček, Palacký University in Olomouc
Lenka Starková, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen

27 February 2017, 16:00, Gallery of Science and Arts, Národní 3, Prague 1
Guided tour with the authorsof the exhibition Karel Nováček, Lenka Starková, Miroslav Melčák and Ondřej Beránek.
20 March 2017, 16:00, Gallery of Science and Arts, Národní 3, Prague 1
Guided tour with the authorsof the exhibition Lenka Starková, Karel Nováček, Miroslav Melčák and Ondřej Beránek.

The exhibition is funded by the Czech Academy of Sciences and financially supported by the research programme of Strategy AV21 and Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

More information about the project: www.monumentsofmosul.com

Facebook: Monuments of Mosul in Danger

Bank of the Tigris and the eastern part of historic Mosul with the bridge on an aerial photograph by T. J. Bradley from 1928–1929.

The Great (Núruddín) Mosque with a minaret of al-Hadbá’ from the southeast, the original appearance before demolition in 1942. The prayer hall was equipped with ribbed conical helmet.

Complete output of the reconstruction by the method of photogrammetry.