Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Citadel

We did not have to travel far during our last organized tour in Kurdistan.  The expat teachers all went to see the Citadel, the ancient city center of Erbil.  The Citadel is a circular hill with buildings on the top.  It has been inhabited since at least 6000 BC, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the world.

The Citadel: (Photo Credit: Jan Sefti)

The mound has gotten higher and higher over millenia, as new buildings were erected on top of old ones.

The mud bricks as seen at the top of this pile of rubble will eventually dissolve into the dirt that can be seen at the bottom:

Many of the buildings on top of the citadel date from the 19th Century or even earlier.  Some of them were inhabited by squatters until as late as 2007, when all but one family was evicted and given government housing.  The remaining family was allowed to stay so as to preserve residential continuity on the citadel.

We visited a large house that must have belonged to a wealthy man.  One room in the house had wall decorations indicating it was a room for celebrating weddings.

A balcony off of the wedding room offers a view of Erbil:

On the citadel, we walked on top of thousands of years of history.  It was a memorable experience that I would recommend to anyone.  If you ever find yourself in Kurdistan, visit the citadel!

1 comment:

  1. That 1st picture looks to me like a Middle Eastern version of New York.
    The history major in you must have been eating this all up with great relish.