Financed by Turkey, restoration of Al-Nejashi mosque located 800 km north of Addis Ababa has taken about 3 years
News Service22 FEBRUARY 2017, 01:33AA
The restoration of the ancient mosque of Al-Nejashi in Ethiopia is nearing completion, according to those directly involved in the project financed by Turkey.
For the past three years, the site, one of a myriad of tourist attractions in Ethiopia, is undergoing restoration works financed by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).
“It is expected that the restoration process will be completed in 2017. Both the mosque and the tombs of 15 companions of Prophet Muhammad are being restored. [...] A new soup kitchen has been constructed inside the compound," the Turkish government's development aid agency's Addis Ababa coordinator Fazil Akın Erdogan told Anadolu Agency.
“Two water tanks have been installed in the compound. We used Ottoman architecture in some areas," he added.
Located in the town of Wukro, 790 kilometers (over 490 miles) north of Ethiopa's capital Addis Ababa, Al Nejashi is said to be the first mosque in Ethiopia. It was built in the 4th century by the companions of Prophet Muhammad who were exiled from Saudi Arabia by the Quraysh tribes. It is named after Ethiopian King Ahmed Nejashi who hosted the Muslim refugees.
“The site […] is attracting tens of thousands of visitors from within the country and abroad each year," Imam Sheikh Mohammed Ibrahim told Anadolu Agency.
Ibrahim pointed out that one of the major contributions TIKA made was solving the long-endured problem of water.
“Turkey got us water wells and now we enjoy tap water both for drinking and washing," he said.
As the restoration project is nearing completion, Ibrahim is expecting the number of tourists to considerably increase.
Getachew Yimer, one of several Ethiopians involved in the project, said he was happy to work as an engineer on the renovation.
“This is a project that is very close to my heart. I studied construction engineering in Turkey. After I graduated I came back to gain employment with TIKA," he told Anadolu Agency. “This area is so important for both Muslims and all Ethiopians."