Mosul Museum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Cultural Museum of Mosul
متحف الموصل
Mosul Museum is located in Mosul
Mosul Museum
Location within Mosul
Former nameMosul Museum of History
Established1952 (1952)
LocationMosul, Iraq
Coordinates36°20′17″N 43°08′22″E / 36.337923°N 43.139372°E / 36.337923; 43.139372
TypeNational History Museum
Collection sizeapprox. 2,200 pieces
DirectorZaid Ghazi Saadallah
OwnerMinistry of Tourism and Antiquities

The Mosul Museum is the second largest museum in Iraq after the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad. It was heavily looted during the 2003 Iraq War.[1][2] Founded in 1952, the museum consisted of a small hall until a new building was opened in 1972, containing ancient Assyrian artifacts.[3] The museums networth and containing are around 50 to 80 to 250 million according to museum specialists during 2013 at least. Dr. Hikmat Al-Aswad was the Director from 2004-2011. The current director is Zaid Ghazi Saadallah.

ISIL seizure and destruction spree[edit]

In 2014 the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) occupied the Museum as it was about to reopen after years of rebuilding. ISIL said that its statues were against Islam and threatened to destroy the museum's contents.[4][5]

On 26 February 2015, a day after burning books from Mosul libraries,[6] the group released a video showing the destruction of artifacts in the museum and at the archaeological site at Nimrud, claiming the sites promoted "Idolatry".[7] ISIL stated that they also intend to destroy the historic walls of Nineveh.

There has been quite some confusion whether artefacts destroyed by ISIL militants were originals or just copies. Mossul's exiled governor Atheel al-Nujaifi said that many of the most important works, except for the larger objects, were transferred to the Baghdad Museum after the 2003 Iraq War,[8] the most valuable ones having been sent to Baghdad already after the 1991 Gulf War.[9] Later in March, the director of Iraq's antiquities administration, Fawzye al-Mahdi, however, incorrectly stated that "none of the artifacts destroyed in the video was an original."[10] As al-Nujaifi specified, "there were two items that were real and which the militants destroyed: one is a winged bull and the other was the God of Rozhan."[11]

It was revealed that ISIS has turned the artifact warehouse into a tax office – the "Diwan Zakat" – to collect dues from its Islamist fighters.[12]

In 2017 the city of Mosul was recaptured by the Iraqi troops; the museum was described as damaged, with some artifacts likely plundered and sold off by ISIS troops, and others damaged or destroyed, sometimes intentionally.[13]


In late February, UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council "on the protection of Iraq's cultural heritage as an integral element for the country's security".[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mosul descends into chaos as even museum is looted. The Guardian. April 12, 2003
  2. ^ Unesco inspection finds no evidence of recent looting in Northern Iraq The Art Newspaper
  3. ^ Riyadh Mohammed (26 Feb 2015). "ISIS Destroys Second Largest Museum in Iraq". The Fiscal Times.
  4. ^ "The Plight Of Mosul's Museum: Iraqi Antiquities At Risk Of Ruin". 9 July 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  5. ^ Christopher Dickey, "ISIS Is About to Destroy Biblical History in Iraq,", The Daily Beast, July 7, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014
  6. ^ "Isis destroys thousands of books and manuscripts in Mosul libraries". The Guardian. 26 Feb 2015.
  7. ^ "ISIS thugs take a hammer to civilisation: Priceless 3,000-year-old artworks smashed to pieces in minutes as militants destroy Mosul museum". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Mosul Governor: Most destroyed artifacts were copies". Rûdaw. 28 February 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  9. ^ Jane Arraf (2 March 2015). "Iraqis mourn destruction of ancient Assyrian statues". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  10. ^ Birgit Svensson (11 March 2015). "Were mere copies of Iraq's national treasures destroyed?". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Sorry, ISIS: smashed statues 'were fakes'". Al Arabiya. 14 March 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  12. ^ "ISIS turns Mosul museum into tax office". 5 April 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  13. ^ Omar, Kawa. "Scars of looting, destruction all that remain at Mosul museum". U.S. Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  14. ^ Kareem Shaheen (27 February 2015). "Isis fighters destroy ancient artefacts at Mosul museum". The Guardian.

Coordinates: 36°20′16″N 43°08′22″E / 36.3379°N 43.1394°E / 36.3379; 43.1394