• The Erbil Citadel is among the oldest fortified settlements on the planet and has a wealthy historical past spanning hundreds of years.
  • The citadel has been occupied because the early Neolithic interval and has gone by means of numerous dominations such because the Sumerians, Akkadian Empire, and Assyria.
  • Visiting the Erbil Citadel is freed from cost and it’s conveniently positioned within the coronary heart of the fashionable metropolis, making it simply accessible for vacationers.

Erbil is the biggest metropolis within the autonomous Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq. The Erbil Citadel (positioned within the historic middle of the fashionable metropolis) is among the oldest fortified settlements on the planet. Iraq could also be a tough nation to go to, but it surely has among the oldest archeological attractions including the ruins of the fabled city of Babylon and the traditional metropolis of Nineveh (Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire and never so removed from Erbil).

The Erbil Citadel is free to go to and is about in an imposing ovoid-shaped inform. It has been constructed over hundreds of years. Immediately the inform or mound is ringed by a powerful wall of towering Nineteenth-century facades. Here is what to know in regards to the Erbil Citadel and how one can go to it in the present day.

The Historical Historical past Of The Erbil Citadel

Erbil Citadel in Iraqi Kurdistan
Photograph by Aaron Spray

Erbil Citadel in Iraqi Kurdistan

The earliest proof for occupation on the web site dates from the fifth millennium BC and the primary time it seems in written information is round 2,300 BC within the Ebla tablets. There may be additionally proof that the location has been inhabited because the early Neolithic, and it’s within the operating for being the longest repeatedly inhabited web site on earth (though the oldest is generally considered to be Jericho in Palestine).

  • Based: Maybe fifth Millennium BC
  • Area: Northern Mesopotamia (trendy Iraq)
  • Assyrian Title: Arbela

Erbil was beneath the domination of the Sumerians from circa 3000 BC after which beneath the Akkadian Empire (from 2335 to 2134 BC). Later it was integrated into the highly effective polity of Assyria. At its peak, it was in contrast in significance to different prime Mesopotamian cities like Babylon and Assur. It was an vital political and non secular middle in the course of the Neo-Assyrian interval.

The Assyrians known as Erbil Arbela — it is wonderful how little its identify has modified over hundreds of years.

Associated: How Would The Hanging Gardens Of Babylon Look Like If They Existed Today?

Later Historical past Of The Citadel Of Erbil

View of modern Erbil from the Citadel of Erbil
Photograph by Aaron Spray

View of contemporary Erbil from the Citadel of Erbil

Later Erbil was integrated into the Persian (or Achaemenid) Empire, the Greco-Macedonian Empire (based by Alexander the Nice), the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, and the Roman Empire (altering fingers off-and-on with the Parthian and later with the Sassanid Empire).

It was additionally an vital middle for early Christianity. The traditional metropolis ultimately went into decline after the Mongols captured it in 1258. Even beneath early Muslim rule, Erbil remained an vital Christian middle till across the ninth century.

Its historical past continued by means of the Center Ages and by the point the British took the area over from the collapsed Ottoman Empire, round 3,200 individuals had been residing within the city. It’s now the executive middle of the Iraqi Kurdistan area with a inhabitants of 1.6 million.

Dimension Of The Historical Inform Of Erbil – One Of The Longest Inhabited Websites In The World

The Erbil Citadel is about on a big inform. A inform is a hill that has been constructed up over many generations with succeeding cities being constructed on prime of earlier cities. The traditional citadel is being renovated and there are plans to maneuver some households into the citadel to deliver it again to life.

  • Space: 102,000 sq meters or 1,100,000 sq ft
  • Dimension: 430 x 340 meters or 1,410 x 1,120 ft
  • Top: 25 to 32 meters or 82 to 105 ft

Streets Inside the Erbil Citadel in Iraqi Kurdistan
Photograph by Aaron Spray

Streets Contained in the Erbil Citadel in Iraqi Kurdistan

The inform or mound rises between 25 and 32 meters (or 82 to 105 ft) above the encompassing plain, a visible reminder of simply how a lot it has been constructed up over time. Pure soil has been discovered round 36 meters or 118 ft beneath the present floor stage.

The citadel as soon as had three districts; the Serai district (the place the notable households lived), the Takya district (named after the houses of the dervishes), and the Topkhana district (the place the craftspeople and farmers lived).

Associated: These Are The Largest Pyramids Of The Ancient World From Egypt To Mesoamerica

What To Know About Visiting The Erbil Citadel Immediately

A lot of what’s seen in the present day on the Erbil Citadel dates from Ottoman instances, however the metropolis goes again to the earliest instances of the recorded historical past of Mesopotamia. The big inform means it may be tough to review the early historical past of the location as is it buried beneath so many layers of later cities.

  • Standing: World Heritage Listed Since 2014
  • Admission: Free
  • Visa: e-Visa Free (Kurdish Northern Iraq Solely)
  • E-Visa value: $72.26 (for 30 days)

It’s straightforward to go to the Erbil Citadel as it’s positioned proper within the coronary heart of the fashionable metropolis proper beside the fashionable bazaar.

Arbil ibn al-Mustawfi's sculpture at the ancient citadel of Erbil
Karl Allen Lugmayer / Shutterstock

Arbil ibn al-Mustawfi’s sculpture on the historic citadel of Erbil

One of many biggest points of interest nonetheless standing from historic Mesopotamia is the ziggurats. Ziggurats had been historic pyramid temples constructed out of baked brick; the largest and best-preserved ziggurats today is the Chogha Zanbil ziggurat in modern-day Iran (historic Elam).


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