Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Al-Hadba Minaret منارة الحدباء في الموصل

    AL-Hadba' Minaret - Mosul

    منارة الحدباء في الموصل

    The BBC

    Dear Mr Cruickshank

    Further to my email, which I sent to you through the BBC recently, I am happy to say that I have managed to see your programme again and in the light of that I would like to amend my previous email to read as follows:

    Your programme Adventures in Architecture on BBC Two on Wednesday 23 April 2008 about the Ghurid Minaret was most enlightening as well as entertaining and I would like to congratulate you and the BBC on such programmes.

    First of all I would like to say that I am an Iraqi engineer by profession, but I am very interested in history, archaeology and literature as I write Arabic poetry and have published many poems.

    The Ghurid minaret is no doubt, as described in your programme, one of the tallest and earliest minarets in the Islamic World measuring 60 metres in height and having been constructed in the 1190s. It is beautifully decorated and includes that unique feature of the double parallel staircases.

    It struck me, after watching your programme, that there seems to be an amazing coincidence that another famous minaret was constructed at that very period of time, to be exact during the years 1170-1172. That minaret is still standing in the centre of the city of Mosul in northern Iraq.

    I have recently learnt that you had visited Mosul in November 2002 and I have read your article “Letter from Baghdad” published in The Architectural Review on 3rd January 2003 about that visit in which you mentioned the Mosul minaret. The article does not mention whether you had visited the minaret at close quarters or inspected it from the inside?

    To my humble knowledge; the Ghurid Minaret has a striking similarity to the Mosul Minaret which:

    1- stands 49.45 metre high.
    2- has a cylindrical body
    3- has the unique double parallel spiral staircase feature
    4- is constructed from local bricks and decorated with different geometrical Islamic patterns.
    5- is older albeit by some twenty years than the Ghurid minaret which makes it, most probably, the first minaret to have the unique feature of the double parallel spiral stair cases .

    Furthermore the Mosul minaret has that peculiar soothing aesthetic though dangerous feature of leaning which you describe in your article as a “curious twelfth century minaret that was built so that it leans to one side in a cheerful manner”.
    That leaning of the minaret has been increasing recently at an alarming rate, and it measures more than 2 metres off centre now. This is endangering the very existence of the minaret and although this has been the subject of many studies and reports no actual permanent remedial solution has been taken.

    The problem has been brought to the attention of the UNISCO, and other world bodies since the solution is technically available based on that adopted for the leaning Tower of Pizza. All that is needed to save this historic monument is the funding.
    Therefore another successful BBC programme by you similar to that of the Ghurid Minaret but featuring the Mosul minaret would no doubt bring this historic monument to the attention of the world in addition to being both an enlightening and entertaining programme.

    I hope you will consider this letter and that the proposal meets with your approval.

    Yours Sincerely

    Ghanim Anaz

    May 2008

    I am happy to say that, four years after my above letter the UNISCO has recognised the heritage value of the minaret and agreed to offered to assist to stabilise and conserve the  leaning minaret which has been the most famous land mark in the city, as show hereunder.    

    Al-Hadba Minaret: UNESCO to protect the icon in Mosul

    Al-Hadba Minaret in Mosul © UNESCO Iraq 2012

    The old city of Mosul, widely known for its manufacture of Muslin and its unique marble, is also home to many important Iraqi heritage sites. As part of UNESCO’s mandate to assist the Government of Iraq and safeguard its cultural heritage, UNESCO Iraq Director Mohamed Djelid met on 20 September 2012 with Ninewa Governor Aseel Abdel Aziz Al Nujaifi to sign an agreement under which UNESCO will help in preserving one of the region's historical icons: Al Hadba Minaret.

    Under the newly signed "Executive Cooperation Programme for the Study and Documentation for the stability and conservation of Al-Hadba Minaret", UNESCO will undertake a comprehensive research of the materials, geological bedding and structural analysis during a 12 month period funded by the governorate, before deciding on the type of treatment that should be applied.

    The Al Hadba minaret is the most outstanding feature of the Great Nurid Mosque built in 1172 in Mosul. The minaret has been leaning 253 cm off the perpendicular axe for several years, suffering from serious structural weakness and risks of collapsing. It is feared that the leaning minaret, that has brought fame to the city of Mosul, may soon collapse if measures to save it are not taken