Historical Ketchaoua Mosque in Algeria was Opened
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika inaugurated the Ketchaoua Mosque, a symbol of independence for Algeria that was renovated by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA).
In the capital Algiers, after the restoration work was completed, Bouteflika opened the Ketchaoua Mosque, which is a piece of Ottoman heritage that Hayreddin Barbarossa had built.
The ceremony was attended by Turkish Ambassador in Algiers Mehmet Poroy and TİKA Coordinator Can Özdemir as well as some ministers and high-ranking officials from the Algerian government.
The short introduction film titled, “The Ketchaoua Mosque Restoration Project” that covers the process from the beginning of the restoration up until its ending was shown on the large screen set up in the mosque.
President Bouteflika and high-ranking delegation that attended the ceremony offered their gratitude to Turkish Ambassador Poroy and TİKA Coordinator Özdemir.
During the inauguration, an inscription was hanged that says, “Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. On this Rajab 22, 1439 (April 9, 2018) the Ketchaoua Mosque that was restored through Turkish-Algerian cooperation was inaugurated by the President of People's Democratic Republic of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika.”
On April 13, 2018, the Ketchaoua Mosque will be opened for worship after a long time with the Friday prayer that will be attended by Algerian people.
The History of the Ketchaoua Mosque
It is told that the Ketchaoua Mosque, located in the world cultural heritage site “Casbah” known as the “Old City” section of the capital city Algiers, was built in the 14th century as a small mosque.
Once the Ottomans gained control of the region in 1516, the small mosque was converted into a mosque and in 1792 Algerian Dey Hassan Pasha further expanded the structure to create a bigger place of worship.
After the French conquest of Algeria in 1830, the mosque was converted into a cathedral in 1832 and was used as a church for 130 years. In 1962, after Algeria gained its independence, Algerian people had their first Friday prayer at the mosque.
In 2013, during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Algeria, in the meeting with Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, it was agreed for Turkey to contribute to the restoration of certain pieces in Algeria, which date back to Turkish-Ottoman period.
In the context of this agreement, a protocol was signed between Algerian Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and TİKA on September 26, 2013, for the restoration of the Ketchaoua Mosque, which only had its inscription surviving until today back from its original form. After the project preparation and approval procedures were completed, once the ground was cleared on September 10, 2014, the restoration efforts at the mosque began.
As part of the restoration, to guide the design work on the interior ornaments and calligraphy, a scientific delegation from Turkey, consisting of leading academics on the field, directed the preparation of the ornament projects.
The calligraphy work in the project was carried out by Calligrapher Hüseyin Kutlu and the preparation and execution of the ornament projects were carried out by Muralist Semih İrteş; the calligraphy texts were produced in Turkey with gold foil on wood and they were assembled in the mosque.
The Christianity symbols that were added when the mosque was converted into a cathedral were covered, the ground platforms of church structures known as bema and altar were removed.
During the restoration process, the carpets were renewed, the bell tower was reinforced and entrance steps were built.
Static expert Fikret Kuran from the Directorate General of Foundations was tasked with determining whether the bell can be taken down or not.
According to the report by Kuran, taking the bell down from the tower would cause static problems and it was suggested that it should be kept in the tower and covered in a way that is not visible from the outside. Therefore, a project to reinforce the tower was prepared.
In agreement with the Algerian authorities, the bell tower was reinforced and the bell’s clapper was removed and stored in the tower.