Suleymansiye, Egypt – It is a day before Suleymania officially begins.
The city’s Suleysiye Mosque, which was built in the 9th century, is being reopened as it is designed to be the focal point of Egypt’s revival after a devastating war in which over a million died.
“I hope to see the people return to their normal life,” said Suleym Ibrahim, a Suleysiyya resident, after attending the opening ceremony.
“But we are in the middle of a great struggle.”
Egypt’s Suksiyya Mosque in Cairo.
Credit: AFP The Suleyshiya mosque was bombed by the Islamic State group during the 2011 war, killing more than 1,000 people.
Now, a reconstruction project is under way to transform the mosque into a tourist attraction and a place of prayer.
Its main entrance is now adorned with colorful flags and a prayer mat, with a replica of the mosque’s famous dome in the foreground.
Inside, a huge bronze statue of Muhammad is in the center, flanked by portraits of the Prophet Muhammad and Egypt’s King Khairat.
In the courtyard, a massive fountain is filled with water and a large statue of a goddess is placed on top of a fountain.
The mosque is expected to become Egypt’s tallest building when completed next year.
The project aims to restore the mosque to its pre-war glory, but it faces a long journey as it has to overcome the challenges of restoring the original structure and rebuilding it after its war-torn past.
Egyptians are still struggling to regain their faith following the destruction of the ancient Muslim city of Nimrud.
Suleym said the reconstruction project had been planned for two years, but there were many hurdles to overcome before it could be completed.
“This is the first time that I have seen a project like this that is being completed in a very short time,” he said.
Many people were also worried that the mosque would be closed during Suleymas, the festival of mourning that marks the death of the prophet.
However, Suleymeniya Mayor Mohammed Abdel-Salam said the project was on track and it was the first step to restore normalcy.