Morocco earthquake causes damage to historic mountain mosque

Morocco’s devastating earthquake has inflicted severe damage on one of the most historically significant sites in the High Atlas mountains, an earth-and-stone mosque constructed by a medieval dynasty that conquered North Africa and Spain.

Moroccan media outlets have reported that sections of the Tinmel Mosque have collapsed. Images circulating online, which has not yet been confirmed, depict toppled walls, a partially collapsed tower, and substantial heaps of debris.

In response to an inquiry regarding the reported damage to Tinmel, a source from the Moroccan Culture Ministry stated that “the ministry has decided to restore it and will allocate a budget for it,” although specific details were not provided.

The 12th-century mosque was constructed at the site where the Almohad dynasty established its initial capital in a secluded Atlas valley before proceeding to conquer Marrakech, declare its leader as the Caliph, and advance across the region driven by religious fervor.

The United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, has reported “very important destructions to the Tinmel Mosque” which had been under consideration for inclusion on the World Heritage list.

However, UNESCO also stated that it is currently awaiting the opportunity to dispatch a team to evaluate the extent of the damage.

The 6.8-magnitude earthquake, the most devastating in the region since at least 1900, has claimed the lives of at least 2,000 people. It occurred on Friday night, causing extensive damage to traditional structures throughout the High Atlas and resulting in the collapse of mud-brick and stone residences in numerous villages.

The earthquake also inflicted damage upon the ancient city of Marrakech, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In this city, a minaret collapsed, portions of the historic city walls crumbled, and several traditional houses were affected.

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