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Baghdad’s Mustansiriya Madrassa ready for World Heritage List

Baghdad’s Mustansiriya Madrassa established by Abbasid Caliph Al-Mustansir around 1230 suffers obsolescence, dampness, environmental pollution and urban sprawl.
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - NOVEMBER 30:  A woman works at the restored Al-Mustansiriya University, founded in 1227 and one of the oldest Islamic universities in the world, on November 30, 2011 in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq is transitioning as the U.S. military continues its withdrawal from the country by the end of December following the war that began in 2003. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Iraq's Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities announced Feb. 5 the launch of the rehabilitation project for Mustansiriya Madrassa, a historic school building established in the capital Baghdad during the Abbasid Caliphate in 1230. The ministry refutes the news of restorations in the historical structure that may harm its historical value. Recent photos had spread of four sewage pipes penetrating the complex’s external wall overlooking the Tigris River and surrounding Mustansiriya Madrassa from the back. The building seems to disappear in a corridor surrounded by a multitude of shops and markets with narrow, winding alleys, most notably the Khaffafin and Saffaren markets.

Mustansiriya Madrassa is one of the oldest universities in the world, and one of the greatest works of Islamic civilization. The university taught the sciences of the Quran, medicine and mathematics, at the hands of senior sheikhs and scientists in Iraq and the Levant. Only bright students were admitted to this university, which was home to 80,000 books.

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