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Turkish Government to Offer Support for Restoration of War-Damaged Monument

Following a series of discussions between the Ministry of Tourism in Ethiopia and the Turkish ambassador to the country, the ministry announced that the Turkish government has pledged to provide the necessary financial and technical resources for the restoration work on Al-Najashi Mosque and King Ahmed Nejashi’s tomb, located in Negash on the Adigrat-Mekele road.

In 2018, the mosque underwent renovation with the support of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency. Accommodation, a visitor’s center, and restrooms were constructed around the mosque complex. The renovation was completed in September 2018.

The historic mosque was one of many historical and religious sites destroyed during the two-year war in the Tigray region. In 2021, the mosque sustained damage because of hostilities. The minaret was destroyed, the dome partially collapsed, and the facade was ruined. The destruction suffered as a result of the conflict is a poignant reminder of the fragile nature of cultural heritage in the face of war.

The mosque is believed to have been founded around 615 AD, when the first Muslims fled to Abyssinia from persecution in the Arabian Peninsula. It is considered one of the oldest mosques in Africa, and some researchers even claim that it is the oldest mosque on the continent. It stands as a symbol of Ethiopia’s historical and religious heritage. The destruction in the Tigray region has prompted an international response and a commitment to its restoration. The cooperation between the Ethiopian government and Turkey, which was already involved in the mosque’s restoration, underscores the global importance of preserving cultural heritage. The restoration work to begin will not only restore the physical structure of the mosque but also revitalize its role as an educational and spiritual center for the local and international community.

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