Masonry leads Akre’s Old Town renovation project
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Stonework has been at the center of the Kurdistan Region’s renovation project in the old town of Akre, as the government ramps up efforts to attract more tourists to the ancient site.
The city has very few masons to lead the reconstruction work that the municipality has undertaken.
Since 2000, Mohammed Yahya has been working hard restoring the historic houses in Akre, in the Duhok province.
With two decades of experience, Mohammed relishes the process of properly cutting and laying rocks for walls of historic buildings.
Mohammed is from the city of Akre and for the most part, the location of his work has been in the Chusta and Gorava neighborhoods of the Old town of Akre, two of the most ancient neighborhoods of the city.
“We bring rocks from the surrounding areas. When an old house is destroyed, we buy the stones and bring them to [the city],” the mason said.
A variety of stones, including Galm, Yellow and Solid, are used in the renovation project. Galm rock is most commonly used in their work.
Due to the special expertise needed for this project, only four people have the municipality’s permission to do the work in Akre.
In addition to his work in Old Akre, Mohammed will be working at an archeological site in the city of Duhok in the upcoming spring season.
The 900 million dinars required for the first phase of renovating Akre's ancient houses was approved by the KRG in 2022.
Akre is a well-known ancient town 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Duhok. Many of the houses are built on the side of the mountain, dating more than a thousand years old. These beautiful structures attract tens of thousands of tourists from Iraq and around the world every year.
“People of Akre like our work, and tourists have praised our efforts,” he said.