BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Here are key facts about Mosul’s Grand al-Nuri Mosque and famous leaning minaret, blown up on Wednesday as Iraqi forces advanced on Islamic State’s last stronghold. It was from this mosque that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the creation of his “caliphate” on July 4, 2014.[nL8N1JI5TO]
The mosque is named after Nuruddin al‑Zanki, a noble who fought the early crusades from a fiefdom that covered territory in modern-day Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The mosque was built in 1172-73, shortly before his death, and housed an Islamic school.
By the time traveler Ibn Battuta visited two centuries later, the mosque’s 150-foot (45-metre) minaret was already leaning.
Its tilt gave the landmark its popular name - al-Hadba, or the hunchback.
“It is several feet out of the perpendicular,” 19th-century traveler Grattan Geary wrote, “though it starts fair from the ground, and at the top, before putting on its gallery and dome, it regains an erect posture. Its attitude is that of a man bowing.”
It was built with seven bands of decorative brickwork in complex geometric patterns ascending in levels towards the top in designs also found in Persia and Central Asia.
Both the mosque and its school were dismantled and reassembled in 1942 in a restoration programme by the Iraqi government.
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the creation of his “caliphate” on July 4, 2014 and the militant group raised its black flag over the Mosque’s ancient walls.
Editing by Ralph Boulton