Erbil, also spelled Arbil (Kurdish: ھەولێر / Hewlêr‎), locally called Hewlêr by the Kurds, is the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan and the most populated city in the Kurdish inhabited areas.[2] It is located approximately in the center of Iraqi Kurdistan region and north of Iraq.[3] It has about 850,000 inhabitants,[1] and Erbil governorate has a permanent population of 2,009,367 as of 2015.[4]

Human settlement at Erbil can be dated back to possibly 5th millennium BC, and it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the world.[5] At the heart of the city is the ancient Citadel of Erbil. The earliest historical reference to the region dates to the Third Dynasty of Ur of Sumer, when King Shulgi mentioned the city of Urbilum.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.[6][7]

Erbil became an integral part of the kingdom of Assyria by at least 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. After this it was part of the geopolitical province of Assyria under several empires in turn, including the Median Empire, the Achaemenid Empire (Achaemenid Assyria), Macedonian Empire, Seleucid Empire, Parthian Empire, Roman Assyria and Sasanian Empire (Asōristān), as well as being the capital of the tributary state of Adiabene between the mid-second century BC and early second century AD.

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.[8]

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.[9] The city was designated as Arab Tourism Capital 2014 by the Arab Council of Tourism.[10][11] In July 2014, the Citadel of Arbil was inscribed as a World Heritage site.

The city has an ethnically diverse population of Kurds (the majority ethnic group), Armenians, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriacs, Arabs, Iraqi Turkmens, Yezidis, Shabakis and Mandaeans. It is equally religiously diverse, with believers of Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Christianity (mainly followed by Chaldeans and Armenians), Yezidism, Yarsanism, Shabakism and Mandaeism extant in and around Erbil.


Hewlêr ھەولێر

Hawler, Arbil, Arbela, Arba-ilu
Capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan
Clockwise, from top: Downtown, Mudhafaria Minaret, Statue of Ibn al-Mustawfi, Citadel of Erbil
Clockwise, from top: Downtown, Mudhafaria Minaret, Statue of Ibn al-Mustawfi, Citadel of Erbil
Erbil is located in Iraqi Kurdistan
Location of Erbil
Erbil is located in Iraq
Erbil (Iraq)
Coordinates: 36°19′N 44°00′E / 36.317°N 44.000°ECoordinates: 36°19′N 44°00′E / 36.317°N 44.000°E
Country Iraq
Autonomous region Iraqi Kurdistan
ProvinceErbil Province
Founded byAssyrian empire
 • MayorNawzad Hadi
 • Total115 km2 (44 sq mi)
 • Land113 km2 (44 sq mi)
 • Water2 km2 (0.8 sq mi)
390 m (1,280 ft)
 • Total852,500[1]
Time zoneUTC+3 (AST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (not observed)
Postal code
Area code(s)066


The name Erbil was mentioned in Sumerian holy writings of third millennium BC as Urbilum, Urbelum or Urbillum,[7] which appears to originate from Arbilum[12] Later, the Akkadians and Assyrians by a folk etymology rendered the name as arba'ū ilū to mean (four gods).[12] The city became a centre for the worship of the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar. In classical times the city became known as Arbela (Koine Greek: Ἄρβηλα), from the Syriac form of the name. In Old Persian, the city was called Arbairā.[13]

Today, the modern Kurdish name of the city, Hewlêr, appears to be a corruption of the name Arbel by a series of metatheses of consonants.[12]


Siège d'Irbil 1258-1259.jpeg
Siege of Erbil by the Ilkhanid Mongols in 1258–59 depicted in the Jami' al-tawarikh by Rashid-al-Din Hamadani Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Division Orientale
Citadel of Hewlêr (Erbil), Iraqi Kurdistan
Citadel of Arbil, Iraqi Kurdistan

Ancient history

The region in which Erbil lies was largely under Sumerian domination from c. 3000 BC, until the rise of the Akkadian Empire (2335–2154 BC) which united all of the Akkadian Semites and Sumerians of Mesopotamia under one rule. 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 3.3 million.[14]

The first mention of Erbil in literary sources' comes from the archives of the east Semitic speaking kingdom of Ebla. They record two journeys to Erbil (Irbilum) by a messenger from Ebla around 2300 BC. Later, Erridupizir, king of the language isolate speaking kingdom of Gutium, captured the city in 2150 BC.[15]

The Neo-Sumerian ruler of Ur, Amar-Sin, sacked Urbilum in his second year, c. 1975 BC[7]

Erbil was an integral part of Assyria from around 2050 BC, becoming a relatively important city during the Old Assyrian Empire (1975–1750 BC), Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1050 BC) and the Neo Assyrian Empire (935–605 BC), until the last of these empires fell between 612–599 BC, however it remained part of Assyria under Persian, Greek, Parthian, Roman and Sassanid rule until the first half of the 7th century AD.

Under the Median Empire, Cyaxares might have settled a number of people from the Ancient Iranian tribe of Sagartians in the Assyrian cities of Arbela and Arrapha (modern Kirkuk), probably as a reward for their help in the capture of Nineveh.[16] The Persian emperor Cyrus the Great occupied Assyria in 547 BC and established it as an Achaemenid satrapy called in Old Persian Aθurā (Athura), with Arbela as the capital.[17]

The Battle of Gaugamela, in which Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Persia in 331 BC, took place approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of Erbil. After the battle, Darius managed to flee to the city, and, somewhat inaccurately, the confrontation is sometimes known as the "Battle of Arbela". Subsequently, Arbela was part of Alexander's Empire. After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, Arbela became part of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire.

Erbil became part of the region disputed between Rome and Persia under the Sasanids. The ancient Assyrian kingdom of Adiabene (the Greek form of the Assyrian Ḥadyab) had its centre at Erbil, and the town and kingdom are known in Jewish Middle Eastern history for the conversion of the royal family to Judaism.[18] During the Parthian era to early Sassanid era, Erbil became the capital of the Assyrian state of Adiabene.

Its populace then gradually converted from the Mesopotamian religion between the 1st and 4th centuries to the Chaldean Catholic Church Christianity (and to a lesser degree to the Syriac Orthodox Church), with Pkidha traditionally becoming its first bishop around 104 AD, although the ancient Mesopotamian religion did not die out entirely in the region until the 10th century AD.[19][20] The metropolitanate of Ḥadyab in Arbela (Syriac: ܐܪܒܝܠ Arbel) became a centre of eastern Syriac Christianity until late in the Middle Ages.[21]

Medieval history

As many of the Eastern Aramaic-speaking Chaldeans who had converted to Christianity adopted Biblical (including Jewish) names, most of the early bishops had Eastern Aramaic or Jewish/Biblical names, which does not suggest that many of the early Christians in this city were converts from Judaism.[22] It served as the seat of a Metropolitan of the Assyrian Church of the East. From the city's Christian period come many church fathers and well-known authors in Syriac.

Following the Muslim conquest of Persia, the Sasanid province of Assuristan, of which Erbil made part of, was dissolved, and from the mid 7th century AD the region saw a gradual influx of Muslim peoples, predominantly Arabs, Kurds and Turkic peoples.

The most notable Kurdish tribe in the region were the Hadhbani, of which several individuals also acted as governors for the city from the late 10th century until the 12th century when it was conquered by the Zengids and its governorship given to the Turkic Begtegenids, who retained the city during the Ayyubid era [23][24] Yaqut al-Hamawi further describes Erbil as being mostly Kurdish-populated in the 13th century.[25]

When the Mongols invaded the Near East in the 13th century, they attacked Arbil for the first time in 1237. They plundered the lower town but had to retreat before an approaching Caliphate army and had to put off the capture of the citadel.[26] After the fall of Baghdad to Hülegü and the Mongols in 1258, the last Begtegenid ruler surrendered to the Mongols, claiming the Kurdish garrison of the city would follow suit; they refused this however, therefore the Mongols returned to Arbil and were able to capture the citadel after a siege lasting six months.[27][28] Hülegü then appointed an Assyrian Christian governor to the town, and the Syriac Orthodox Church was allowed to build a church.

As time passed, sustained persecutions of Christians, Jews and Buddhists throughout the Ilkhanate began in earnest in 1295 under the rule of Oïrat amir Nauruz, which affected the indigenous Assyrian Christians greatly.[29] This manifested early on in the reign of the Ilkhan Ghazan. In 1297, after Ghazan had felt strong enough to overcome Nauruz's influence, he put a stop to the persecutions.

During the reign of the Ilkhan Öljeitü the Chaldeans inhabitants retreated to the citadel to escape persecution. In the Spring of 1310, the Malek (governor) of the region attempted to seize it from them with the help of the Kurds. Despite the Turkic bishop Mar Yahballaha's best efforts to avert the impending doom, the citadel was at last taken after a siege by Ilkhanate troops and Kurdish tribesmen on 1 July 1310, and all the defenders were massacred, including many of the Chaldean inhabitants of the lower town.[30][31]

However, the city's Eastern Aramaic-speaking Chaldean population remained numerically significant until the destruction of the city by the forces of Timur in 1397.[32]

In the Middle Ages, Erbil was ruled successively by the Umayyads, the Abbasids, the Buwayhids, the Seljuks and then the Atabegs of Erbil (1131–1232), under whom it was a Turkmen state; they were in turn followed by the Ilkhanids, the Jalayirids, the Kara Koyunlu, the Timurids and the Ak Koyunlu. Erbil was the birthplace of the famous 12th and 13th century Kurdish historians and writers Ibn Khallikan and Ibn al-Mustawfi. Erbil and all of Iraq passed into the hands of the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century. Erbil was part of the Musul Vilayet in Ottoman Empire for 400 years until World War I, when the Ottomans and their Kurdish and Turcoman allies were defeated by the British Empire, with the aid of the Chaldeans and Armenians, and the Ottoman Turks ejected.

Modern history

Postcard of the city of Erbil, 1900
A postcard showing the city of Erbil in 1900

The modern town of Erbil stands on a tell topped by an Ottoman fort. During the Middle Ages, Erbil became a major trading center on the route between Baghdad and Mosul, a role which it still plays today with important road links to the outside world.

Erbil mail square
Erbil Mail Square

Today, Erbil is both multi-ethnic and multi-religious, with the Kurds forming the largest ethnic group in the city, with smaller numbers of Arabs, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Turcoman, Armenians, Yazidis, Shabaks, Circassians, Kawliya, Iranians and Mandeans also extant.

The parliament of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region was established in Erbil in 1970 after negotiations between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Mustafa Barzani, but was effectively controlled by Saddam Hussein until the Kurdish uprising at the end of the 1991 Gulf War. The legislature ceased to function effectively in the mid-1990s when fighting broke out between the two main Kurdish factions, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The city was captured by the KDP in 1996 with the assistance of the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein. The PUK then established an alternative Kurdish government in Sulaimaniyah. KDP claimed that on March 1996 PUK asked for Iran's help to fight KDP. Considering this as a foreign attack on Iraq's soil, the KDP asked Saddam Hussein for help.

The Kurdish Parliament in Erbil reconvened after a peace agreement was signed between the Kurdish parties in 1997, but had no real power. The Kurdish government in Erbil had control only in the western and northern parts of the autonomous region. During the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, a United States special forces task force was headquartered just outside Erbil. The city was the scene of celebrations on 10 April 2003 after the fall of the Ba'ath regime.

Clock of Erbil
Erbil Clock Tower

During the coalition forces occupation of Iraq, sporadic attacks hit Erbil. Parallel bomb attacks against Eid celebrations killed 109 people on 1 February 2004.[33] Responsibility was claimed by the Ansar al-Sunnah,[33] and stated to be in solidarity with Ansar al-Islam. A suicide bombing on 4 May 2005 killed 60 civilians and injured 150 more outside a police recruiting centre.[34]

The Erbil International Airport opened in the city in 2005.

In 2015, the Assyrian Church of the East moved its seat from Chicago to Erbil.


Downtown Erbil

Main article: Downtown Erbil

Downtown Erbil is a large shopping complex in Gulan street, Erbil. The project was coordinated by Emaar Properties, the GCC's largest real estate developer. Emaar is well known for international big projects like Downtown Dubai and Burj Khalifa. The 2 billion dollar project was launched by Nasri group of Iraq.

American village

The Erbil based American village is a large villa complex that features western style (mostly American designed) houses for people to rent and buy from. Unlike other neighborhoods in Erbil the American village has 24 hours of electricity with added security and other services.[35]

"American, Hawlerian or Palace homes; each style offering luxurious comfort, refined design inspired by the architectural style of the American East Coast and featuring the most advanced amenities. Everything and all the services you need are here in this fully independent and self sufficient residential community. Make yourself at home in your exclusive American style community where you can walk across landscaped gardens, watch your children safely having fun in the playground, and enjoy the spectacular mountain view."

Empire world

Set at the forefront of one of Erbil’s most sought after and prestigious communities, Empire Avenue offers the best possible location to live, work and play.

With a host of stylish cafes, top restaurants and an array of fashionable stores, Empire Avenue enables residents and visitors alike to not only experience the best possible lifestyle, but the very best of Erbil.

Empire Avenue isn’t simply an urban walkway– it’s a sanctuary. Here, lush green landscapes and wide boardwalks and fascinating fountains provide the luxurious backdrop for pedestrian-friendly living set within a warm and energetic urban setting.[36][37]


Erbil International Airport is one of Iraq's busiest airports and is near the city. Services includes direct flights to many domestic destinations such as Baghdad international airport. There are international flights from Erbil such as to countries; Netherlands, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Turkey, Jordan and many more flights elsewhere around the world. There are occasionally seasonal flights from Erbil international airport. Erbil International Airport was briefly closed to international commercial flights in September 2017 by the Iraqi government in retaliation for the Kurdish independence vote but reopened in March 2018.[38][39]

Another important form of transportation between Erbil and surrounding areas is by bus. Among others, bus services offer connections to Turkey and Iran. A new bus terminal was opened in 2014.[40]

Most of Kurdistan's transportation is with local Taxis, that are operated by private companies and also managed by the government of Kurdistan. Hawler Taxi, also known as Kurd Taxi, will be the first and only taxi service in Erbil to offer app-based taxi bookings in the Erbil area and eventually across the Kurdistan region. Currently Kurd Taxi/Hawler Taxi is only available in Erbil, but once the application is fully launched, there is hope to also launch Duhok Taxi and Slemani Taxi in the future.[41]

Erbil has a system of five ring roads encirling the city.[42]


Erbil's climate is hot-summer Mediterranean (Csa) according to Köppen climate classification, with extremely hot summers and cool wet winters. January is the wettest month.[43]


Citadel of Erbil

The Citadel of Arbil is a tell or occupied mound in the historical heart of Erbil, rising between 25 and 32 metres (82 and 105 ft) from the surrounding plain. The buildings on top of the tell stretch over a roughly oval area of 430 by 340 metres (1,410 ft × 1,120 ft) occupying 102,000 square metres (1,100,000 sq ft). It has been claimed that the site is the oldest continuously inhabited town in the world.[47] 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 during the Ur III period and gained particular importance during the Neo-Assyrian Empire (10th to 7th centuries BC) period. West of the citadel at Ary Kon quarter, a chamber tomb dating to the Neo-Assyrian Empire period has been excavated.[9] During the Sassanian period and the Abbasid Caliphate, Erbil was an important centre for Assyrian Christianity and the Assyrians. After the Mongols captured the citadel in 1258, Erbil's importance began to decline.

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 2007, the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization (HCECR) was established to oversee the restoration of the citadel. 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 co-operation with local specialists, and many areas remain off-limits to visitors due to the danger of unstable walls and infrastructure. The government plans to have 50 families live in the citadel once it is renovated.

The only religious structure that currently survives in the citadel 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. The Serai was occupied by notable families; the Takya district was named after the homes of dervishes, which are called takyas; and the Topkhana district housed craftsmen and farmers. Other sights to visit in the citadel include the bathing rooms (hammam) built in 1775 located near the mosque and the Textile Museum.[48] Erbil citadel has been inscribed on the World Heritage List on 21 June 2014 .

Other sights

  • The covered Erbil Qaysari Bazaars, lying below the main entrance to the citadel and stocking mainly household goods and tools.
  • The 36-metre-high (118-foot) Mudhafaria Minaret, situated in Minaret Park several blocks from the citadel, dates back to the late 12th century AD and the Governor of Erbil, in the reign of Saladin, Muzaffar Al-Din Abu Sa’eed Al-Kawkaboori (Gökböri), who had entered in the obedience of Salahuddin without war and married his sister. It has an octagonal base decorated with two tiers of niches, which is separated from the main shaft by a small balcony, also decorated. Another historical minaret with turquoise glazed tiles is nearby.
  • Sami Rahman Park
  • Franso Hariri Stadium
  • The Mound of Qalich Agha lies within the grounds of the Museum of Civilization, 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) from the citadel. An excavation in 1996 found tools from the Halaf, Ubaid and Uruk periods.[9]
  • Kurdish Textile Museum


The local major football team is Erbil SC which plays its football matches at Franso Hariri Stadium (named after the assassinated Assyrian politician, former governor of Erbil city Franso Hariri) which is based in the south part of central Erbil. Erbil SC were the first Kurdish team to make it to the AFC Champions league.


See also


  1. ^ a b "Iraq". CITY POPULATION. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  2. ^ Danilovich, Alex (2018-10-12). Federalism, Secession, and International Recognition Regime: Iraqi Kurdistan. Routledge. ISBN 9780429827655.
  3. ^ "Baghdad |". Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  4. ^ "İşte Kürdistan Bölgesi'nin nüfusu…".
  5. ^ Novice, Karel (2008). "Research of the Arbil Citadel, Iraq, First Season". Památky Archaeological (XCIX): 259–302.
  6. ^ Villard 2001
  7. ^ a b c Hamblin, William J. (2006). Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC. Routledge. p. 111. ISBN 0-415-25589-9.
  8. ^ Georges Roux – Ancient Iraq
  9. ^ a b c 'Directorate Antiquities of Erbil's Guide' Brochure produced by General Directorate of Antiquities, KRG, Ministry of Tourism
  10. ^ Erbil named 2014 Arab Tourism Capital. Retrieved 30 January 2014
  11. ^ "Erbil: Kurdish City, Arab Capital", Rudaw. Retrieved 30 January 2014
  12. ^ a b c Khan, Geoffrey (1999). A grammar of neo-Aramaic: the dialect of the Jews of Arbel, Part 1, Volume 47. BRILL. p. 2. ISBN 978-90-04-11510-1.
  13. ^ "Iranica: Arbela". Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  14. ^ Statistics. "UNPO: Assyria".
  15. ^ Timeline Archived 14 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine ErbilCitadel.orq
  16. ^ "ASAGARTA (Sagartia) – Encyclopaedia Iranica".
  17. ^ E. Herzfeld, The Persian Empire, ed. G. Walser, Wiesbaden, 1968, pp. 304–07
  18. ^ Adiabene, Jewish Kingdom of Mesopotamia Archived 12 July 2009 at the Portuguese Web Archive, Jonah Gabriel Lissner
  20. ^ Neusner, Jacob (1969). A history of the Jews in Babylonia, Volume 2. Brill Archive. p. 354.
  21. ^ British Institute of Persian Studies (1981). Iran, Volumes 19–21. the University of Michigan. pp. 15, 17.
  22. ^ Gillman, Ian and Hans-Joachim Klimkeit. Christians in Asia before 1500. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1999) p. 33
  23. ^ V. Minorsky. Studies in Caucasian History III, Prehistory of Saladin. Cambridge University Press. 208 pp. 1953.
  24. ^ Nováček, K., Amin, N., & Melčák, M. (2013). A Medieval City Within Assyrian Walls: The Continuity of the Town of Arbīl in Northern Mesopotamia. Iraq, 75, 1-42. doi:10.1017/S0021088900000401
  25. ^ B. James. Le « territoire tribal des Kurdes » et l’aire iraqienne (xe-xiiie siècles): Esquisse des recompositions spatiales. Revue des Mondes Musulmans et de la Méditerranée, 2007. P. 101-126.
  26. ^ Woods 1977, pp. 49–50
  27. ^ Nováček et al. 2008, p. 261
  28. ^ J. von Hammer-Purgstall. 1842. Geschichte der Ilchane, das ist der Mongolen in Persien, Volume 1. P. 159-161.
  29. ^ Grousset, p. 379
  30. ^ Sourdel 2010
  31. ^ Grousset, p. 383
  32. ^ Edwin Munsell Bliss, Turkey and the Armenian Atrocities, (Chicago 1896) p. 153
  33. ^ a b Al-Nahr, Naseer (2 February 2004). "Twin Bombings Kill 56 in Irbil". Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  34. ^ Jaff, Warzer; Oppel Jr., Richard A. (5 May 2005). "60 Kurds Killed by Suicide Bomb in Northern Iraq". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  35. ^ "American Village, exclusive villas in Kurdistan, Erbil". Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  36. ^ "Empire Avenue - Empire World". Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  37. ^ "JW Marriott Partners with Falcon Group to Manage Hotels in Kurdistan Region, Iraq - Falcon Group". Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  38. ^ Blockade by Iraq (29 September 2017). "Iraqi govt enforces international flight ban in Kurdistan region". France 24.
  39. ^ International Flight Return. "Erbil International Airport".
  40. ^ "Erbil's New Bus Terminal a Boon for Travelers". Rudaw. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  41. ^ "Erbil prepares to launch first app-based taxi service". Rudaw. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  42. ^ "Erbil's 5th ring road completed - the 120 Meter highway". Rudaw. 2 May 2017. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  43. ^ a b "Climate: Arbil – Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  44. ^ "Irbil, Iraq Climate". My Forecast. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  45. ^ "Erbil climate info". What's the Weather Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  46. ^ "Erbil Weather Forecast and Climate Information". Erbilia. Archived from the original on 9 July 2013. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  47. ^ "Erbil Citadel". UNESCO. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  48. ^ 'Erbil Citadel' Brochure, High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization (HCECR).


External links

2004 Erbil bombings

The 2004 Erbil bombings was a double suicide attack on the offices of Kurdish political parties in Erbil, Iraq, north of Baghdad on February 1, 2004. The attackers detonated explosives strapped to their bodies as hundreds gathered to celebrate Eid Al-Adha in Erbil.

A former government minister, the deputy governor of Erbil Province and the city's police chief were among those killed at offices of northern Iraq's main political groups, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The attacks occurred as party leaders were receiving hundreds of visitors to mark the start of Eid.

The Al-Hayat newspaper speculated that the bombings may have been retribution for the Kurdish role in capturing Hassan Ghul.

2005 Erbil bombing

The 2005 Erbil bombing was a suicide attack on the offices of Kurdish political parties in Erbil, Iraq, on May 4, 2005. The attacker detonated explosives strapped to his body as people lined up outside a police recruiting center in Erbil.Ansar al-Sunna claimed responsibility. This attack is an example of Religious Terrorism, groups who commit terrorist acts because of religion believe that their deity or deities are on their side and that their violence is divinely inspired and approved. This attack is also an example of Strategic terrorism. Which is a form of terrorism where the terrorist plans to inflict mass casualties. The goals of Strategic terrorism are normally not local objectives but global objectives or regional objectives. Ansar al-Sunna's goal is to transform the country of Iraq into an Islamic state so their goals are regional.

Background Info on Ansar al-Sunna

Ansar al-Sunna stands for Supporters of Islam. "They are an militant Islamic Kurdish separatist movement seeking to transform Iraq into an Islamic state". This group has a Salafist worldview, which means that they insist on a puritanical form of Islam and they seek to emulate the practices of Muhammad. This movement was founded in 2001 by Mullah Krekarand they got financial and logistical help from al-Qaeda and Osama Bin laden. Some of the members of this organization transport money from Germany to northern Iraq to help finance the group. "This group targets secular Iraqi Kurds-particularly members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)". Ansar was named a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the U.S. Department of State on March 22, 2004. They are considered an active terrorist group in northern and central Iraq today. Ansar al-Islam operates primarily in northern and central Iraq and claims the second largest number of Sunni jihadist attacks in Iraq after Al-Qaeda. This organization is also known to behead their captives. The goal of Ansar-al Sunna is to have an Islamic country where its people are strong. There are a maximum of two thousand "hard fighters" in Ansar-al-Sunna. This group is the main threat in Northern Iraq right now. This group will most likely continue to attack the Kurds until the country has reached a decision on the position of the Kurds.

Before the 2005 Erbil bombing Ansar al-Sunna attacked Eid al-Adha, on February 1, 2004 the Muslim festival that celebrates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael to Allah, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan were celebrating the holiday in Erbil, Iraq, when suicide bombers entered the PUK and KDP headquarters and killed 109 (MEIB)people, including KDP Deputy Prime Minister Sami Abdul Rahman. One hundred and seventeen people were killed during this bombing.More Information on The Bombing

In the 2005 Erbil bombing that happened on May 4, the suicide bomber dressed up as a job seeker and blew himself up Wednesday morning outside a police recruiting center in the Kurdish provincial capital, killing at least 60 Kurds, most of them prospective policemen, and wounding 150 others. This attack was intended as retribution for the involvement of Kurdish troops fighting insurgents alongside American forces. This bombing was the biggest act of terrorism in Iraq since early March 2005. Because the bomber could not get into the police recruiting center he detonated himself by the gate where young men gathered, killing 46, including the policeman standing outside of the recruiting center. Later it was found that a total of 60 people were found dead. The damage that was seen after the bombing was horrible there were pieces of body parts everywhere. There has been a wave of attacks going on in Iraq because the new government is now mostly Kurds.

Reasons for Conflict

Reasons for the Conflict Between Kurds and Ansar-al Sunna

The Kurdish Islamic Conflict began in 2001. In 2003, the conflict merged with the larger 2003 invasion of Iraq, which led to the defeat of Ansar al-Islam. After the invasion, Ansar al-Islam continued a low-level terrorist revolt against the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Ansar al-Islam and its allied groups seized control of the area around Halabja from the PUK in late 2001 and that is why there is military conflict between them. Fighting continued throughout 2002. Ansar al-Sunna has tortured prisoners and executed PUK officials.

Reasons for the Conflict Between Baghdad and Erbil

Conflict has also arisen with the Kurds because they have aimed to repopulate Kirkuk and that has arisen some problems with the Arabs in Baghdad. The Arabs have lived there for more than 30 years and they're reluctant to leave. One of the largest oilfields in the area lies underneath Kirkuk and that complicates the dispute. The conflict between the Kurds and Baghdad is mostly due to land. It has been difficult to resolve the conflict between Baghdad and Erbil because it dates back decades and has a lot to do with natural resources. It seems the Kurds are reluctant to renounce their claim of the land and this conflict might take some 50 to 100 years to resolve.Other Bombings that happened in Erbil

In 2007 the Interior Ministry Building in Erbil was struck.On September 29, 2013 a car bomb shocked the capital of Erbil. This bomb left six attackers and six security officers dead and 60 wounded.On 23 August in 2014 a car bomb in Erbil exploded and wounded several people.

In November 2014 a suicide car bomber attacked the Provincial Governor's Building in Erbil. This car bomb killed five people and injured 29 others.

2010–11 Iraqi Premier Division

The 2010–11 season was the 37th edition of the competition. The season began on 26 November 2010, and ended on 15 August 2011. Duhok were the defending champions.

On 15 August 2011, the season's final was won by Al-Zawraa after defeating Erbil on penalties. This was their 12th title.

2011–12 Iraqi Elite League

The 2011–12 Iraqi Elite League (known officially as the Asiacell Elite League for sponsorship reasons) was the 38th season of the competition since its establishment in 1974. The name of the league was changed from Iraqi Premier Division to Iraqi Elite League. The season began on 29 October 2011. Erbil won their fourth league title, losing just one match all season.

2012 AFC Cup

The 2012 AFC Cup was the 9th edition of the AFC Cup, a football competition organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for clubs from "developing countries" in Asia. As in previous years, Nike provided the official ball for all matches with a new Nike Seitiro model used throughout the season.

Al-Kuwait from Kuwait won their second AFC Cup title in four years, defeating Erbil from Iraq with a 4–0 win in the final.

2012–13 Iraqi Elite League

The 2012–13 Iraqi Elite League was the 39th season of the competition since its establishment in 1974. The season began on 19 October 2012 and finished on 4 September 2013. Al-Shorta ended up as the champions with 72 points, two points ahead of nearest rivals Erbil. Al-Shorta were defeated only twice in the entire season and this was their fourth Premier League title; it was also the first time they had won the league since 2003. Having finished above the relegation zone on goal difference just two seasons prior, Al-Shorta were nobody's pick for the title at the start of the season; the likes of Erbil, Duhok, Zakho, Al-Zawraa, Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya and Al-Talaba were touted as the favourites, so it was a surprise that Al-Shorta were the ones to lift the trophy.On the very last day of the season, three teams were all still in the enthralling race for the title. Al-Shorta needed a win against Al-Talaba to secure the league, whilst Erbil had to defeat Al-Najaf and hope that Al-Shorta failed to win their game if they wanted to retain their title. Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya needed both Al-Shorta and Erbil to slip up and needed to defeat Masafi Al-Wasat by a big goal-margin in order for them to go home with the trophy. All three teams ended up winning their respective matches, making Al-Shorta the champions.

2014 AFC Cup Final

The 2014 AFC Cup Final was the final of the 2014 AFC Cup, the 11th edition of the AFC Cup, a football competition organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for clubs from "developing countries" in Asia.The final was contested as a single match between Iraqi team Erbil and Kuwaiti team Al-Qadsia. The match was hosted by Erbil at the Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai on 18 October 2014, as teams from Iraq were not allowed to host their home matches in their country due to security concerns.

Al-Qadsia defeated Erbil 4–2 on penalties after a 0–0 draw, to win their first AFC Cup title after losing in the previous year's final.

Chaldean Catholic Archeparchy of Arbil

The Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil (Latin: Archieparchia Arbilensis Chaldaeorum, Arabic: إيبارشية أربيل الكلدانية‎) is a Chaldean Catholic diocese with its seat in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Erected in 1968 with territory taken from the Archeparchy of Kirkuk, it is immediately subject to the Patriarchal See of Babylon. The see of the archbishop is the Cathedral of St. Joseph (Mar Yousif) in Ankawa, a suburb of Erbil.

Under Archbishop Bashar Warda, the archdiocese expanded its activity by creating the Catholic University in Erbil and several youth and healthcare agencies. In particular, the Archdiocese took a leading role in the care of Christians displaced from Mosul and the Nineveh plains after the ISIS invasion of those areas in 2014. During this period, Ankawa and Erbil became the center of Christianity in Iraq.

Citadel of Erbil

The Erbil Citadel, locally called Qalat (Kurdish: قەڵای ھەولێر‎ Qelay Hewlêr; Arabic: قلعة أربيل‎) is a tell or occupied mound, and the historical city centre of Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The citadel has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 21 June 2014.

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 2,300 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 1258, 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 2007, the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization (HCECR) was established to oversee the restoration of the citadel. 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 buildings on top of the tell stretch over a roughly oval area of 430 by 340 metres (1,410 ft × 1,120 ft) occupying 102,000 square metres (1,100,000 sq ft). The only religious structure that currently survives is the Mulla Afandi Mosque. The mound rises between 25 and 32 metres (82 and 105 ft) from the surrounding plain. 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. The Serai was occupied by notable families; the Takya district was named after the homes of dervishes, which are called takyas; and the Topkhana district housed craftsmen and farmers.

Erbil District

Erbil District is a district of the Erbil Governorate in Iraq. It contains three sub-districts, Ankawa, Behirke and Shamamek, and 379 villages. The District of Erbil is centered on the city of Erbil.

Erbil Governorate

Erbil Governorate (Kurdish: Parêzgeha Hewlêr - پارێزگای ھەولێر‎, Syriac: ܗܘܦܲܪܟܝܵܐ ܕܐܲܪܒܝܠ‎, Arabic: محافظة أربيل‎ Muḥāfaẓat Arbīl), sometimes referred to by the alternative spelling Arbil Governorate, is a governorate in Iraqi Kurdistan.

. It derives its name from the city of Erbil (Kurdish: Hewler), which is its capital.

Erbil Governorate covers an area of 15,074 km2 in the north of Iraq, with a population of 2,113,391 (2017) people. It is largely populated by Kurds but has minority populations of Turkmens, Arabs and Assyrians.

Erbil International Airport

Erbil International Airport (IATA: EBL, ICAO: ORER), is the main airport of the city of Erbil in Iraq. It is administered by the Iraqi Government under a committee consisting of the Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, Nechervan Idris Barzani, and is one of two international airports (the other being Sulaymaniyah Airport), with a third in Duhok being under construction. The new modern airport opened in 2010. The airport has one of the longest runways in the world (4800m).

Erbil SC

Erbil Sport Club (Arabic: نادي أربيل الرياضي‎, Kurdish: یانەی وەرزشیی هەولێر‎) is a sports club based in the city of Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan that plays in the Iraqi Premier League, the first-tier of Iraqi football. The club is also known as Yaney Hewlêr, the Kurdish name for Erbil. For the first time in its history, Erbil became champions of the Iraqi Premier League after beating Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya (1–0) in the final game on Friday, 6 July 2007. On 24 August 2008, Erbil retained their status as Iraqi Premier League champions with a well-deserved win over Baghdad based Al-Zawraa. On 16 July 2009 Erbil became the champion of Iraq's super league for the third consecutive year after beating Najaf FC. They also won the league in 2012 with only one loss.

Erbil Sport Club is the first Iraqi-Kurdish team to qualify for the Asian Champions League and the Arab Champions League. In 2012 and 2014 they reached the AFC Cup final but lost both times. Erbil SC is the first Iraqi Premier League team to get players from outside Iraq.

Franso Hariri Stadium

Franso Hariri Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. It is currently used mostly for football matches and also has facilities for athletics. The stadium has an official capacity of 19,000. The stadium was built on an old airfield in 1956 and was redeveloped in 1992. The stadium was home to the old Brusk club (renamed Al-Shurta Erbil) and was named the Erbil Stadium until 2001. It was renamed the Martyr Franso Hariri Stadium in honor of the assassinated governor Franso Hariri, who supported efforts to renovate the stadium.

In July 2009 Franso Hariri Stadium became Iraq national football team's home venue after the green-light from AFC to host the Iraqi national and clubs teams in Erbil.

Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraqi Kurdistan, officially called the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (Kurdish: هه‌رێمی کوردستان‎, translit. Herêmî Kurdistan) by the Iraqi constitution, is an autonomous region located in northern Iraq. It is also referred to as Southern Kurdistan (Kurdish: باشووری کوردستان‎, translit. Başûrê Kurdistanê), as Kurds generally consider it to be one of the four parts of Greater Kurdistan, which also includes parts of southeastern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan), northern Syria (Rojava or Western Kurdistan), and northwestern Iran (Eastern Kurdistan).The region is officially governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), with the capital being Erbil. Kurdistan is a parliamentary democracy with its own regional Parliament that consists of 111 seats. Masoud Barzani, who was initially elected as president in 2005, was re-elected in 2009. In August 2013 the parliament extended his presidency for another two years. His presidency concluded on 19 August 2015 after the political parties failed to reach an agreement over extending his term.

The new Constitution of Iraq defines the Kurdistan Region as a federal entity of Iraq, and establishes Kurdish and Arabic as Iraq's joint official languages. The four governorates of Duhok, Erbil, Silemani, and Halabja comprise around 46,861 square kilometres (18,093 sq mi) and have a population of 5.8 million (2017 estimate). In 2014, during the 2014 Iraq Crisis, Iraqi Kurdistan's forces also took over much of the disputed territories of Northern Iraq; the total area under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government contains some 8 million inhabitants.

The establishment of the Kurdistan Region dates back to the March 1970 autonomy agreement between the Kurdish opposition and the Iraqi government after years of heavy fighting. However, that agreement failed to be implemented and by 1974 Northern Iraq plunged into the Second Iraqi–Kurdish War, another part of the Iraqi–Kurdish conflict between the Kurds and the Arab-dominated government of Iraq. Further, the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War, especially the Iraqi Army's Al-Anfal Campaign, devastated the population and environment of Iraqi Kurdistan. Following the 1991 uprising of Kurds in the north and Shia Arabs in the south against Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Kurdistan's military forces, the Peshmerga, succeeded in pushing out the main Iraqi forces from the north.

Despite significant casualties and the crisis of Kurdish refugees in bordering regions of Iran and Turkey, the Peshmerga success and the Western establishment of the northern Iraqi no-fly zone following the First Gulf War in 1991 created the basis for Kurdish self-rule and facilitated the return of refugees. As Kurds continued to fight government troops, Iraqi forces finally left Kurdistan in October 1991, leaving the region with de facto autonomy. In 1992, the major political parties in the region, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, established the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government. The 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent political changes led to the ratification of a new constitution in 2005.

Koy Sanjaq Syriac language

Koy Sanjaq Surat (Arabic: سورث كوي سنجق) is a modern Eastern Syriac-Aramaic language. Speakers of the language call it simply Surat, or 'Syriac'. It is spoken in the town of Koy Sanjaq in the Erbil Governorate. The speakers of Koy Sanjaq Surat have traditionally been Assyrians and thus the language has generally been considered a dialect of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic. The Madnhâyâ version of the Syriac alphabet is used in writing, but most written material is in the Syriac language used in worship.

Makhmur, Iraq

Makhmur (Kurdish: مەخموور Mexmûr‎, Arabic: مخمور‎) is a town in Iraq. It is part of Makhmur District in Erbil Governorate in Northern Iraq. The district is a disputed territory, in between the Erbil and Ninawa Governorates. Makhmur is mainly populated by Arabs and Kurds and was captured by Iraqi army from Peshmerga in October 2017. During the 2014 ISIL crisis, the town was taken over by ISIL militants before being regained again by combined Kurdish forces, led by the Kurdistan Workers' Party. A volunteer civilian militia to defend the town in the future was started in response.During the ongoing 2017 Iraqi–Kurdish conflict, clashes have been reported on the outskirts of the town between Peshmerga forces, and the Iraqi army supported by Popular Mobilization Forces (also known as Hashd al-Shaabi) until it was fully recaptured by the Iraqi Government.In the Makhmur District is also located the Makhmur Refugee Camp. About 12`000 Kurdish refugees, who fled the civil war between Kurds and the Turkish state in the 1990s, live in the Refugee Camp.

Makhmur District

Makhmur District is a district in Iraq between the Erbil Governorate and the Nineveh Governorate, Iraq. Before 1991 the large district of Makhmur was part of Ninawa Governorate, but after Makhmur district became a part of Erbil Governorate in Iraq.


Shaqlawa (Kurdish: Şeqlawe , شەقڵاوە‎, Arabic: شقلاوة‎) is a historic city and a Hill station in the Erbil Governorate in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Shaqlawa, a city of approximately 25,000 people, lies 51 km to the northeast of Erbil, at the bottom of Safeen Mountain. Shaqlawa is situated between Safeen Mountain and Sork Mountain, and sits 1066 m above sea level. The town is inhabited mostly by Kurds, with a small Assyrian minority. Shaqlawa has a very large quantity of waterfalls, trees, and a great growing of greenery.

Climate data for Erbil
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 12.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 7.4
Average low °C (°F) 2.4
Average rainfall mm (inches) 111
Average rainy days 9 9 10 9 4 1 0 0 1 3 6 10 62
Average snowy days 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Average relative humidity (%) 75 70 65 59 42 29 25 28 31 44 61 76 50
Source #1:,[43] My Forecast for records, humidity, snow and precipitation days[44]
Source #2: What's the Weather,[45] Erbilia[46]
Iraqi Kurdistan articles

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