A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America. How the first excavations in an ancient city are supporting its claim as the oldest continuously inhabited place in the world. The foot-high, oval-shaped citadel of Erbil towers high above the northern Mesopotamian plain, within sight of the Zagros Mountains that lead to the Iranian plateau. At various times over its long history, the city has been a pilgrimage site dedicated to a great goddess, a prosperous trading center, a town on the frontier of several empires, and a rebel stronghold. As a consequence, almost everything known about the metropolis—called Arbela in antiquity—has been cobbled together from a handful of ancient texts and artifacts unearthed at other sites. Last year, for the first time, major excavations began on the north edge of the enormous hill, revealing the first traces of the fabled city.

A rich diverse city – Erbil-Kurdistan

Erbil Citadel is a fortified settlement on top of an imposing ovoid-shaped tell a hill created by many generations of people living and rebuilding on the same spot in the Kurdistan region, Erbil Governorate. Written and iconographic historical records document the antiquity of settlement on the site — Erbil corresponds to ancient Arbela, an important Assyrian political and religious centre — while archaeological finds and investigations suggest that the mound conceals the levels and remains of previous settlements.

De citadel van Erbil is een versterkte nederzetting op de top van een imposante, eivormige tell een heuvel ontstaan doordat veel generaties op dezelfde plek leefden en herbouwden. De citadel ligt in het Erbil gouvernement, een Koerdische regio.

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The earliest evidence for occupation of the citadel mound dates to the 5th millennium BC, and possibly earlier. It appears for the first time in historical sources in the Ebla tablets around 2, BC, and gained particular importance during the Neo-Assyrian period. During the Sassanian period and the Abbasid Caliphate , Erbil was an important centre for Christianity. After the Mongols captured the citadel in , the importance of Erbil declined.

During the 20th century, the urban structure was significantly modified, as a result of which a number of houses and public buildings were destroyed. In the same year, all inhabitants, except one family, were evicted from the citadel as part of a large restoration project. Since then, archaeological research and restoration works have been carried out at and around the tell by various international teams and in cooperation with local specialists. The government plans to have 50 families live in the citadel once it is renovated.

The only religious structure that currently survives is the Mulla Afandi Mosque. When it was fully occupied, the citadel was divided in three districts or mahallas : from east to west the Serai, the Takya and the Topkhana.

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Human settlement at Erbil may be dated back to the 5th millennium BC, which would make the city one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the world. The earliest historical reference to the region dates to the Third Dynasty of Ur of Sumer , when King Shulgi mentioned the city of Urbilum. The city was later conquered by the Assyrians. Erbil became an integral part of the kingdom of Assyria by the 21st century BC through to the end of the seventh century BC, after it was captured by the Gutians , and it was known in Assyrian annals variously as Urbilim , Arbela and Arba-ilu.

Following the Muslim conquest of Persia , it no longer remained a unitary region, and during the Middle Ages , the city came to be ruled by the Seljuk and Ottoman empires. Erbil’s archaeological museum houses a large collection of pre-Islamic artefacts, particularly the art of Mesopotamia , and is a center for archaeological projects in the area. The city has an ethnically diverse population of Kurds the majority ethnic group , Turkmens , Assyrians , Arabs , Shabaks , Mandaeans and Armenians.

The name Erbil was mentioned in Sumerian holy writings of third millennium BC as Urbilum , Urbelum or Urbillum , [10] which appears to originate from Arbilum. The region in which Erbil lies was largely under Sumerian domination from c. Today the Assyrian people , a Syriac-speaking community who claim descent from Akkadian speakers , endure as a minority in northern Iraq, north east Syria, south east Turkey and north west Iran, their population is estimated to be 3.

The first mention of Erbil in literary sources comes from the archives of the East Semitic -speaking kingdom of Ebla. Erridupizir , king of the language isolate speaking kingdom of Gutium , captured the city in BC.

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Corinne Redfern spends a night on the town in Iraq. I open my mouth to protest — talking my way into things is a CV-listed strength. A friend takes over. The first thing I see walking through the door is someone passed out, head down on the pool table. Erbil is just 50km from Mosul where air strikes and suicide bombs in the war zone have devastated the city.

But while the conflict has forced over 3 million Iraqi residents from their homes since , and the Islamic caliphate continues to impose its regime of terror across the region, Erbil or Irbil has remained largely unscathed.

The Erbil Plain Archaeological Survey · The identification, mapping, and dating of all premodern habitation sites; · Mapping of ancient irrigation systems, both on the.

Erbil began as a military base in the s and the newest modern facility was opened in When you fly to Kurdistan, you have access to the business centre’s, as well as Kurdish cultural and historical heritage of the city. The province of Kurdistan was established in the 12th century and the historic and architectural attractions, as well as the surrounding mountain ranges provide stunning views from your flight to Kurdistan and your hotel room window.

Flights to Erbil are convenient for experiencing the Kurdish cultural heritage in the region from the 12th century. This region has been home to many groups of people throughout its history, dating back to antiquity and Kurdistan is now comprised of parts of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. Things to visit include the ancient city at the center of Erbil and the Citadel of Arbil.

Citadel of Erbil

It is one of the most ancient cities in the world, dating back at least to bce. Erbil has long been an important trade centre, with roads south to Arab Iraq and abroad to Turkey , Iran , and Syria. Hamilton runs from Erbil through the mountains and canyons northeast to the Iranian border. Erbil was already an ancient city when Alexander the Great famously defeated the Persian king Darius III some 50 miles 80 km northwest of it at the Battle of Gaugamela , also known as the Battle of Arbela Erbil , in bce.

The Muslims conquered Erbil in the 7th century, but it was not until Erbil was razed by the Turkic conqueror Timur Tamerlane in the late 14th century that it became largely Muslim. The city had already been superseded in economic importance by Mosul some 50 miles to the west by the s, but it remained an important regional centre in the centuries that followed.

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This paper focuses on the international impact of the 25 September referendum, and specifically on Kurdish relations with the US and Russia in its immediate aftermath. It could be argued both that the US response represents a challenge for the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, and that, for three reasons, this challenge is not new. Firstly, the new US presidency, mired in a series of controversies and enjoying only questionable domestic support, has structurally complicated the already delicate implementation of a coherent US foreign policy in the Middle East in general and in Iraq in particular.

Secondly, this has been further exacerbated by the traditional US foreign policy process whereby different bureaucracies, be they Congressional, the State Department or the Department of Defence, develop different stances about the same issue. This has been particularly the case regarding Kurdish affairs. Thus, the referendum has impacted not so much strategic Kurdish-US relations per se , but rather Kurdish society itself and its political system. The aftermath of the referendum did not herald a definitive change in US-Kurdish relations.

The referendum itself could be perceived as a pause, with the KRG insisting on a policy perceived as counter to US interests. Apart from US economic or geopolitical interests in the KRI, the cornerstone of this relationship remains defence and security the main US priorities in the region , and the role that the Kurds can play within this context. Given the status of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region as a de facto state entity, the strengthening of Russian—KRG relations since 2 June and the Russian reaction to the referendum is particularly intriguing.

This stance was undeniably more supportive than the US position. However, in the aftermath of the referendum Moscow mainly committed to its economic relations with the KRI. In the aftermath of the 25 September referendum, then, the KRI maintained a economic relations, primarily with Russia, with its re-entry into Iraqi affairs through a firm partnership with the KRG and b its strategic alliance with the US, with further joint attempts to institutionalise the security sector.

Finally, on the political level the KRG is currently re-engaging with both the Russian and US administrations, with some leverage over the latter as the main player in Iraq.

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With records of human settlement dating back to the fifth millennium BC, Erbil is rich in history and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited.

The audience included a wide range of foreign representatives, the local community as well as the media. He underlined the importance of the Director-General’s personal commitment, embodied in her decision to present the inscription certificate in person in Erbil. The Governor spoke of the strong cooperation with UNESCO in all aspects of the conservation of the Citadel, noting the love and pride of the women and men of Iraq for their heritage.

In addition to humanitarian crisis, she said the country is experiencing cultural cleansing, cultural eradication and cultural looting. In this context, she said there can be no relent in the shared determination to defend Iraqi cultural heritage and diversity –“this must be our response to extremism, to strengthen tolerance and trust. The first World Heritage Site in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Erbil Citadel is a fortified settlement on top of an imposing ovoid-shaped tell, a hill created by many generations of people living and rebuilding on the same spot.

Written and iconographic historical records document the antiquity of settlement on the site — Erbil corresponds to ancient Arbela, an important Assyrian political and religious centre — while archaeological finds and investigations suggest that the mound conceals the levels and remains of previous settlements. The Director-General thanked the Prime Minister, the Governor and the local community for their commitment to safeguarding the Citadel. Skip to main content.

Things to do in Erbil (Iraq) – A complete guide

Historians claim that the city has been permanently inhabited since the 28th century B. With 30, years of history and, today, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Erbil or Hawler, as the locals call it is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan and a city that has played a very significant role in 21st-century history and the fight against the Islamic State. However, if you think that visiting Erbil is just about wandering around a traditional Muslim city, you are completely wrong, because this is a real pro-Western metropolis and a business hub, home to a large expat community and some of the best nightlife in the Middle East, often compared to Beirut.

I have visited it twice and it is a city which really fascinates me, so here is a complete E rbil travel guide, which includes things to do in Erbil , as well as transportation and accommodation tips.

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By: Vandana Hettiaratchi. Located kilometers north of Baghdad, the capital city of the Republic of Iraq, the city is in transition from a small town to a growing center for trade and commerce in the region. It is situated on the rich fertile plains between two rivers- the Greater Zab and the Lesser Zab. With records of human settlement dating back to the fifth millennium BC, Erbil is rich in history and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the world, if not the oldest.

Erbil has been an important trade centre from the early days to Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria.

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