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Czech experts map 47 damaged sights in Iraqi Mosul

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Plzen, West Bohemia, Feb 15 (CTK) – A team of four Czech experts have mapped the architectonic heritage sights, so far 47, that militants from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organisation have damaged in Mosul, Iraq, team member Lenka Starkova has told CTK.

The experts are creating a special database. They analyse satellite images in an interactive computer map and describe the extensive destruction of the historical city.

The aim of the project entitled The Threatened Architecture of Mosul is to gather the available data on the damaged heritage which would help during its future reconstruction, said Starkova, from the University of West Bohemia in Plzen.

The unique project, which is presented in the Science and Art gallery in Prague until the end of March, is carried out under the aegis of the Oriental Institute and the Science Academy (AV).

The Czech expert team started collecting and assessing data on the deliberate destruction of Mosul in the summer of 2014.

“The aim of the project is not only to map the cultural genocide, but also to contribute to the scientific knowledge of the so far neglected architecture of Mosul,” Starkova said.

The Czech experts gain information about the destruction of the Mosul sights from the media, their Iraqi collaborators and mainly from satellite images the analysis of which provides clear evidence of the damage.

“According to the updated, verified database, IS has already removed 47 architectonic sights in Mosul. Except for two, they all were of a religious character,” Starkova said.

Forty-one were Islamic buildings, such as mosques, mausoleums, tombs and also as school. Only four of the destroyed sights were Christian. However, all remaining churches, convents and monasteries were looted or burnt down, she added.

Mosul has lost its most valuable architectonic heritage. Its priceless libraries, museum depositories and church treasures were destroyed, Starkova pointed out.

Archaeological sights suffered serious damage as well, mainly the remains of the ancient town of Niniveh where the famous Mosque of the Prophet Yunus (Jonah) was destroyed.

Further damage is expected to occur during the liberation of Mosul as well as during its post-war reconstruction, Starkova said.

Within the project, the expert team focuses on the possibility to reconstruct particular buildings and localise them exactly in the city. Along with a map portal, a detailed and precise 3D model of the historical centre of Mosul is being created.

“In combination with the sources of data in the form of satellite images of the destroyed buildings, the team is able to reconstruct high-quality and credible 3D models of the irreversibly destroyed sights,” Starkova added.

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