12th century prayer room found under Nuri Mosque in Mosul: official

Excavations around the al-Nuri mosque in the old town of Iraq’s northern city Mosul, which was heavily damaged by Islamic State in 2017. (AFP photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — A prayer hall from the 12th century have been discovered under Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul city, according to site managers.

The mosque, where Islamic State (ISIS) once proclaimed their “caliphate”, was severely damaged by the militants during the battle to dislodge the group from Mosul in 2017.

It has been undergoing reconstruction.

The foundations of the prayer room were found during excavation underneath the mosque, AFP cited Khaireddine Nasser, director of the department of antiquities and heritage in Nineveh province, as saying.

Excavation was carried out by Nasser’s department, with support from UNESCO and funding from the UAE.

Nasser further said four additional rooms for the performance of ablutions were also discovered under the prayer room, according to AFP.

The rooms “are interconnected and built of stone and plaster”, he was quoted as saying.

Each ablution room measures three meters (almost 10 feet) in height and 3.5 meters in width, he added.

“They are about six meters underground,” AFP quoted him as saying.

“The foundations of the old prayer hall are more extensive than those of the prayer hall built in 1942,” Nasser said.

The mosque was built in 1172, but much of it was destroyed and reconstructed in 1942, with the exception of its minaret, which endured, according to AFP.

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