Project: Baraka: Revitalization of the Oldest Preserved Sudanese Mosque at Old Dongola

  • Principal Investigator: Prof. Artur Obłuski


    Project coordinator:

    Dr. Tomomi Fushiya (PCMA UW)

    Project term:

    January 2023 to December 2025


    1,143,215 USD


    The ALIPH Foundation, grant for Projects, 2022–2026: “Baraka: Revitalization of the Oldest Preserved Sudanese Mosque at Old Dongola”

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  • Baraka: Revitalization of the Oldest Preserved Sudanese Mosque at Old Dongola

    Keywords: rehabilitation, conservation, mosque, historic building, community engagement, museum, Islamic heritage, Old Dongola, Sudan, Africa

    The Old Dongola Mosque is the oldest preserved mosque in the Republic of Sudan. The Baraka project aims to rehabilitate the building using the latest conservation methods and re-open it to local and international visitors with an engaging exhibition on Islamic heritage.

    Old Dongola, originally named Tungul, was the capital of the Kingdom of Makuria from the 5th to the 14th centuries. From the 16th century onwards, under the Funj Sultanate, it developed as a regional political center and hub for teaching of Islam. The Old Dongola Mosque, a building continuously used for 1100 years, is the only surviving edifice to have withstood these transitions and historical events. The two-storey building, 12m high was originally built as a throne hall or church in the early 9th century. It was converted into a place of worship for Muslims in 1317, and served the communities for over 600 years, until 1969.

    A multidisciplinary team of Polish, Sudanese, and Japanese experts work on challenging tasks of documenting the building, relocating a colony of bats, stabilizing its structure, conserving the wall paintings and historical inscriptions on the walls wall paintings, and opening it as a historical monument. In cooperation with the Sudanese National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM), the team includes specialists from the PCMA UW, Warsaw University of Technology, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, and Poznań University of Life Sciences. The team also collaborates with local communities, including the local Imam and Sheikhs, to develop an exhibition space and engagement programs focusing on Islamic heritage of Old Dongola. Capacity building programs will be part of the project, where young Sudanese experts will be trained in wall painting conservation, and local residents and students will delve into engagement program design and visitor tours to raise awareness of heritage protection.

    Project collaborators :
    • Prof. Dr hab. Krzysztof Chmielewski (Conservator, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw)
    • Prof. Dr hab. Wojciech Terlikowski (Engineer, Warsaw University of Technology)
    • Prof. Dr hab. Piotr Tryjanowski (Biologist, Poznan University of Life Sciences)
    • Dr. Tomomi Fushiya (Chief Community Engagement, PCMA UW)
    • Dr. Habab Idriss (Engagement facilitator and trainer, National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums)
    • Zaki edDeen Mahmoud Babiker (Archaeologist)
    • Piotr Bartosiak (Engineer, Warsaw University of Technology)
    • Anna Brzozowska (Accountant, PCMA UW)
    • Adrian Chlebowski (Topographer, PCMA UW)
    • Martyna Gregoriou- Szczepaniak (Engineer, Warsaw University of Technology)
    • Anna Kwiatkowska (Conservator – Jan.-Mar. 2023)
    • Mahamed Hassan Siedahmed (Engagement facilitator and trainer, Northern State Supreme Council of Tourism)
    • Dominika Siwek (Conservator – Jan.-Mar. 2023)
    • Magdalena Skarżynska (Chief Conservator, PCMA UW)
    • Bogna Skawara (Conservator – Jan.-Mar. 2023)
    • Ewa Sobczyńska (Engineer, Warsaw University of Technology)
    • Dawid Szymanski (Conservator – Jan.-Mar. 2023)
    • Kacper Wasilewski (Engineer, Warsaw University of Technology)
    • Agnieszka Wujec (Architect)
    • Moshira Abdalmoneim Hassan Abdalrahim (Trainee: Community Engagement)
    • Rajaa Alamein Adam (Trainee: Community Engagement, University of Neelain)
    • Mona Osman Ahmed (Trainee: Community Engagement
    • Nusaiba Ahmed Ali Ahmed (Trainee: Community Engagement, University of Khartoum)
    • Asmhan Safe Alden (Trainee: Community Engagement)
    • Enas Ata Suliman (Trainee: Community Engagement)
    Associated events:
    Lectures and conference presentations:

    4th-6th July 2023, 3 papers will be presented at the “Nile’s Earth International Conference”, organised by the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble (ENSAG-UGA) in collaboration with the UMR 5189 Histoire et Sources des Mondes Antiques (CNRS), UMR 8167 Orient & Méditerranée (CNRS), the International Centre for Earthen Construction (CRAterre), the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo (Ifao), the Centre Franco-Égyptien d’Étude des Temples de Karnak (CFEETK, CNRS/MoTA), and the Section française de la direction des antiquités du Soudan (SFDAS).

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