Top Ten Iraqi Attractions

Top Ten Iraqi Attractions

       Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert. Iraqis bordered by Jordan to the west, Syria to the northwest, Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to the south. Iraq has a narrow section of coastline measuring 58 km (35 miles) on the northern Persian Gulf. The capital city, Baghdad is in the center-east of the country. Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run through the center of Iraq, flowing from northwest to southeast. These provide Iraq with agriculturally capable land and contrast with the steppe and desert landscape that covers most of Western Asia. Historically, Iraq was known in Europe by the Greek toponym ‘Mesopotamia’ (Land between the rivers). Iraq has been home to continuous successive civilizations since the 6th millennium BC. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is identified as the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of writing and the wheel. At different periods in its history,Iraq was the center of the indigenous Akkadian, Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Hellenistic, Parthian, Sassanid and Abbasid empires. It was also part of the Achaemenid, Roman, Rashidun, Umayyad, Mongol, Safavid, Afsharid, and Ottoman empires, and under British control as a League of Nations mandate.Iraq’s modern borders were demarcated in 1920 by the League of Nations when the Ottoman Empire was divided by the Treaty of Sèvres. Iraq was placed under the authority of the UK as the British Mandate of Mesopotamia. A monarchy was established in 1921 and the Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from Britain in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Republic of Iraq was created.Iraq was controlled by the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party from 1968 until 2003. After an invasion led by American and British forces, the Ba’ath Party was removed from power and Iraq came under a military occupation by a multinational coalition. Sovereignty was transferred to the Iraqi Interim Government in June 2004. A new constitution was then approved by referendum and a new Government of Iraq was elected. Foreign troops remained in Iraq after the establishment of a new government due to an insurgency that developed shortly after the invasion, with violence peaking in mid 2007.

  1. The Great Ziggurat of Ur

    The Ziggurat of Ur, meaning “house whose foundation creates terror,” is a Neo-Sumerian ziggurat in what was the city of Ur near Nasiriyah, in present-day Dhi Qar Province, Iraq. The structure was built during the Early Bronze Age (21st century BC), but had crumbled to ruins by the 6th century BC of the Neo-Babylonian period when it was restored by King Nabonidus. Its remains were excavated in the 1920’s and 1930’s by Sir Leonard Woolley. Under Saddam Hussein in the 1980’s, they were encased by a partial reconstruction of the façade and the monumental staircase. The ziggurat of Ur is the best-preserved of those known from Iran and Iraq, besides the ziggurat of Dur Untash (Chogha Zanbil). It is one of three well preserved structures of the Neo-Sumerian city of Ur, along with the Royal Mausolea and the Palace of Ur-Nammu (the E-hursag).
    Links: Top Ten Ziggurats, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziggurat_of_Ur,
  2. Hatra

    Hatra is an ancient city in the Ninawa Governorate and al-Jazira region of Iraq. It is currently known as al-Hadr, a name which appears once in ancient inscriptions, and it was in the ancient Iranian province of Khvarvaran. The city lies 290 km (180 miles) northwest of Baghdad and 110 km (68 miles) southwest of Mosul.
    Links: Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatra,
  3. Samarra Archaeological City

    Sāmarrā is a city in Iraq. It stands on the east bank of the Tigris in the Salah ad-Din Governorate, 125 km (78 mi) north of Baghdad and, in 2003, had an estimated population of 348,700. Medieval Islamic writers believed that the name “Samarra” is derived from the Arabic phrase “Sarr man ra’a,” which translates to “A joy for all who see”.
    Links: Top Ten Mosques, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samarra,
  4. Assur (Qal’at Sherqat)

    Assur was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District (a small panhandle of the Salah al-Din Governorate). Assur is also the name of the chief deity of the city. He was considered the highest god in the Assyrian pantheon and the protector of the Assyrian state. In the Mesopotamian mythology he was the equivalent of Babylonian Marduk. The site of Assur is a United Nations World Heritage Site, but was placed on the list of World Heritage Sites in danger in 2003, in part due to the conflict in that area, and also due to a proposed dam, that would flood part of the site.
    Links: Top Ten Stelae, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assur,
  5. Borsippa

    Borsippa (Sumerian: BAD.SI.(A).AB.BAKI; Akkadian: Barsip and Til-Barsip) was an important ancient city of Sumer, built on both sides of a lake about 17.7 km (11.0 mi) southwest of Babylon on the east bank of the Euphrates. The site of Borsippa is in Babylon Province, Iraq and now called Birs Nimrud, identifying the site with Nimrod. The ziggurat, the “Tongue Tower,” today one of the most vividly identifiable surviving ziggurats, is identified in the Talmud and Arab culture with the Tower of Babel. The local god was Nabu, called the “son” of Babylon’s Marduk, as would be appropriate for Babylon’s lesser sister-city.
    Links: Top Ten Ziggurats, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borsippa,
  6. Links: Top 100 Sumerian Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq,