The Tigris (/ˈtaɪɡrɪs/; Sumerian: 𒁇𒄘𒃼 Idigna or Idigina; Akkadian: 𒁇𒄘𒃼 Idiqlat; Arabic: دجلة Dijlah [didʒlah]; Syriac: ܕܹܩܠܵܬ Deqlaṯ; Armenian: Տիգրիս Tigris; Դգլաթ Dglatʿ; Hebrew: חידקל Ḥîddeqel, biblical Hiddekel; Turkish: Dicle; Kurdish: Dîcle, Dîjla دیجلە) is the eastern of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq and empties into the Persian Gulf.
About 100 km from its source, the Tigris enables rich agriculture in Diyarbakır Province.
Map of the Tigris–Euphrates river system
|Country||Turkey, Syria, Iraq|
|Cities||Diyarbakır, Mosul, Baghdad|
|- elevation||1,150 m (3,770 ft)|
|Al-Qurnah, Basra Governorate, Iraq|
|Length||1,850 km (1,150 mi)|
|Basin size||375,000 km2 (145,000 sq mi)|
|- average||1,014 m3/s (35,800 cu ft/s)|
|- minimum||337 m3/s (11,900 cu ft/s)|
|- maximum||2,779 m3/s (98,100 cu ft/s)|
|- left||Garzan, Botan, Khabur, Greater Zab, Lesser Zab, 'Adhaim, Cizre, Diyala|
|- right||Wadi Tharthar|
The Tigris is 1,750 km long, rising in the Taurus Mountains of eastern Turkey about 25 km southeast of the city of Elazig and about 30 km from the headwaters of the Euphrates. The river then flows for 400 km through Turkish territory before becoming the border between Syria and Turkey. This stretch of 44 km is the only part of the river that is located in Syria.
Close to its confluence with the Euphrates, the Tigris splits into several channels. First, the artificial Shatt al-Hayy branches off, to join the Euphrates near Nasiriyah. Second, the Shatt al-Muminah and Majar al-Kabir branch off to feed the Central Marshes. Further downstream, two other distributary channels branch off (the Al-Musharrah and Al-Kahla), which feed the Hawizeh Marshes. The main channel continues southwards and is joined by the Al-Kassarah, which drains the Hawizeh Marshes. Finally, the Tigris joins the Euphrates near al-Qurnah to form the Shatt-al-Arab. According to Pliny and other ancient historians, the Euphrates originally had its outlet into the sea separate from that of the Tigris.
Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, stands on the banks of the Tigris. The port city of Basra straddles the Shatt al-Arab. In ancient times, many of the great cities of Mesopotamia stood on or near the Tigris, drawing water from it to irrigate the civilization of the Sumerians. Notable Tigris-side cities included Nineveh, Ctesiphon, and Seleucia, while the city of Lagash was irrigated by the Tigris via a canal dug around 2900 B.C.
The Tigris has long been an important transport route in a largely desert country. Shallow-draft vessels can go as far as Baghdad, but rafts are needed for transport upstream to Mosul.
General Francis Rawdon Chesney hauled two steamers overland through Syria in 1836 to explore the possibility of an overland and river route to India. One steamer, the Tigris, was wrecked in a storm which sank and killed twenty. Chesney proved the river navigable to powered craft. Later, the Euphrates and Tigris Steam Navigation Company was established in 1861 by the Lynch Brothers trading company. They had 2 steamers in service. By 1908 ten steamers were on the river. Tourists boarded steam yachts to venture inland as this was the first age of archaeological tourism, and the sites of Ur and Ctesiphon became popular with European travelers.
In the First World War, during the British conquest of Ottoman Mesopotamia, Indian and Thames River paddlers were used to supply General Townsend's Army. See Siege of Kut and the Fall of Baghdad (1917). The Tigris Flotilla included vessels Clio, Espiegle, Lawrence, Odin, armed tug Comet, armed launches Lewis Pelly, Miner, Shaitan, Sumana, and sternwheelers Muzaffari/Muzaffar. These were joined by Royal Navy Fly-class gunboats Butterfly, Cranefly, Dragonfly, Mayfly, Sawfly, Snakefly, and Mantis, Moth, and Tarantula.
After the war, river trade declined in importance during the 20th century as the Basra-Baghdad-Mosul railway, an unfinished portion of the Baghdad Railway, was completed and roads took over much of the freight traffic.
The original Sumerian Idigna or Idigina was probably from *id (i)gina "running water", which can be interpreted as "the swift river", contrasted to its neighbour, the Euphrates, whose leisurely pace caused it to deposit more silt and build up a higher bed than the Tigris. The Sumerian form was borrowed into Akkadian as Idiqlat, and from there into the other Semitic languages (cf. Hebrew Ḥîddeqel, Syriac Deqlaṯ, Arabic Dijlah).
Another name for the Tigris used in Middle Persian was Arvand Rud, literally "swift river". Today, however, Arvand Rud (New Persian: اروند رود) refers to the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers (known in Arabic as the Shatt al-Arab). In Kurdish, it is also known as Ava Mezin, "the Great Water".
The name of the Tigris in languages that have been important in the region:
|Language||Name for Tigris|
|Arabic||دجلة, Dijlah; حداقل, Ḥudaqil|
|Armenian||Տիգրիս, Tigris, Դգլաթ, Dglatʿ|
|Greek||ἡ Τίγρης, -ητος, hē Tígrēs, -ētos;
ἡ, ὁ Τίγρις, -ιδος, hē, ho Tígris, -idos
|Hebrew||חידקל , Ḥîddeqel biblical Hiddekel|
|Kurdish||Dîcle, Dîjla دیجلە|
|Persian||Old Persian: 𐎫𐎡𐎥𐎼𐎠 Tigrā; Middle Persian: Tigr; Modern Persian:دجله Dejle|
The Tigris is heavily dammed in Iraq and Turkey to provide water for irrigating the arid and semi-desert regions bordering the river valley. Damming has also been important for averting floods in Iraq, to which the Tigris has historically been notoriously prone following April melting of snow in the Turkish mountains.
Recent Turkish damming of the river has been the subject of some controversy, for both its environmental effects within Turkey and its potential to reduce the flow of water downstream. Mosul Dam is the largest dam in Iraq.
Water from both rivers is used as a means of pressure during conflicts.
In 2014 a major breakthrough in developing consensus between multiple stakeholder representatives of Iraq and Turkey on a Plan of Action for promoting exchange and calibration of data and standards pertaining to Tigris river flows was achieved. The consensus which is referred to as the "Geneva Consensus On Tigris River" was reached at a meeting organized in Geneva by the think tank Strategic Foresight Group.
In February 2016, the United States Embassy in Iraq as well as the Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi issued warnings that Mosul Dam could collapse. The United States warned people to evacuate the floodplain of the Tigris because between 500,000 and 1.5 million people were at risk of drowning due to flash flood if the dam collapses, and that the major Iraqi cities of Mosul, Tikrit, Samarra, and Baghdad were at risk.
In Hittite and Hurrian mythology, Aranzah (or Aranzahas in the Hittite nominative form) is the Hurrian name of the Tigris River, which was divinized. He was the son of Kumarbi and the brother of Teshub and Tašmišu, one of the three gods spat out of Kumarbi's mouth onto Mount Kanzuras. Later he colluded with Anu and the Teshub to destroy Kumarbi (The Kumarbi Cycle).
The Tigris appears twice in the Old Testament. First, in the Book of Genesis, it is the third of the four rivers branching off the river issuing out of the Garden of Eden. The second mention is in the Book of Daniel, wherein Daniel states he received one of his visions "when I was by that great river the Tigris".
The river featured on the coat of arms of Iraq from 1932-1959.
Akkad () or Agade (cuneiform: 𒌵𒆠 URIKI) was the name of a Mesopotamian city and its surrounding area.
Akkad was the capital of the Akkadian Empire, which was the dominant political force in Mesopotamia during a period of about 150 years in the last third of the 3rd millennium BC.
Its location is unknown, although there are a number of candidate sites, mostly situated east of the Tigris, roughly between the modern cities of Samarra and Baghdad.Bengal tiger
The Bengal tiger is a Panthera tigris tigris population in the Indian subcontinent. It is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2008, and was estimated at comprising fewer than 2,500 individuals by 2011. It is threatened by poaching, loss, and fragmentation of habitat. None of the Tiger Conservation Landscapes within its range is considered large enough to support an effective population of more than 250 adult individuals. India's tiger population was estimated at 1,706–1,909 individuals in 2010. By 2014, the population had reputedly increased to an estimated 2,226 individuals. Around 440 tigers are estimated in Bangladesh, 163–253 tigers in Nepal and 103 tigers in Bhutan.The tiger is estimated to be present in the Indian subcontinent since the Late Pleistocene, for about 12,000 to 16,500 years.The Bengal tiger ranks among the biggest wild cats alive today. It is considered to belong to the world's charismatic megafauna.
It is the national animal of both India and Bangladesh. It is also known as the Royal Bengal tiger.Caspian tiger
The Caspian tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) was a tiger population which lived from eastern Turkey, Mesopotamia, the Caucasus around the Caspian Sea through Central Asia to northern Afghanistan and Xinjiang in western China. It inhabited sparse forests and riverine corridors in this region until the 1970s. This population was assessed as extinct in 2003.Felis virgata was the scientific name proposed in 1815 by Johann Karl Wilhelm Illiger for this tiger population.
Results of phylogeographic analysis indicate that the Caspian and Siberian tiger populations shared a common continuous geographic distribution until the early 19th century that became fragmented due to human influence.Some Caspian tiger individuals were intermediate in size between Siberian and Bengal tigers.The Caspian tiger was also called Hyrcanian tiger, Turanian tiger, and Babre Mazandaran (Persian: ببرِ مازندران), depending on the region of its occurrence.Cizre Dam
The Cizre Dam is a proposed dam on the Tigris River north of Cizre, Turkey. The Cizre Dam is to be built in conjunction and downstream of the Ilisu Dam. The Cizre Dam is also one of the planned dams of Turkey's Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP). The purpose of the Cizre Dam is irrigation, hydro-power and to control the tailwaters of the Ilisu Dam.
A tender for the Cizre Dam was unsuccessfully issued in May 2008 but another issue on 15 May 2014 left Zorlu Energy as the winning bidder. The Cizre Dam will have a hydro-power capacity of 240 MW and will provide irrigation for 121,000 hectares.Devegeçidi Dam
Devegeçidi Dam is one of the 22 dams of the Southeastern Anatolia Project of Turkey, Diyarbakır. It is near Diyarbakır on a branch of the Tigris river. It was constructed for irrigation purposes between 1965 and 1972.Dicle Dam
Dicle Dam is one of the 21 dams of the Southeastern Anatolia Project of Turkey. These facilities are located within the provincial territory of Diyarbakır, at a distance of 50 kilometres to Diyarbakır city centre. More specifically, the dam and the hydroelectric power plant are located at a distance of 800 metres from the point of junction of the streams of Maden Stream and Dibni to form the Tigris, and 22 kilometres downstream of the Kralkızı Dam. Construction works were started in 1986 and the dam was completed in 1997. The dam has an installed hydroelectric capacity of 110 MW and is designed to ultimately irrigate 128,080 hectares. In 2001 a water transmission line and a water treatment plant were commissioned that provided about 85% of the drinking water for the city of Diyarbakir in 2010.Euphrates
The Euphrates ( (listen); Sumerian: 𒌓𒄒𒉣 Buranuna; Akkadian: 𒌓𒄒𒉣 Purattu; Arabic: الفرات, translit. al-Furāt; Syriac: ̇ܦܪܬ Pǝrāt; Armenian: Եփրատ: Yeprat; Hebrew: פרת Perat; Turkish: Fırat; Kurdish: Firat) is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land between the Rivers"). Originating in eastern Turkey, the Euphrates flows through Syria and Iraq to join the Tigris in the Shatt al-Arab, which empties into the Persian Gulf.Indochinese tiger
The Indochinese tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is a tiger population in Southeast Asia. This population occurs in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and southwestern China. It has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2008, as the population seriously declined and approaches the threshold for Critically Endangered. It is considered extinct in Cambodia. As per 2011, the population was thought to comprise 342 individuals, including 85 in Myanmar, and 20 in Vietnam. The largest population unit survives in Thailand estimated at 189 to 252 individuals.The tiger population in Peninsular Malaysia is known as the Malayan tiger. In 2017, the Cat Classification Task Force of the Cat Specialist Group revised felid taxonomy, and now recognizes the tiger populations of mainland South and Southeast Asia as belonging to the subspecies P. t. tigris.Karkh
Karkh or Al-Karkh (Arabic: الكرخ) is historically the name of the western half of Baghdad, Iraq, or alternatively, the western shore of the Tigris River as it ran through Baghdad. The eastern shore is known as Al-Rasafa. Its name is derived from the Syriac (ܟܪܟܐ) Karkha; citadel.
In a more limited sense Karkh is one of nine administrative districts in Baghdad, with Mansour district to the west, Kadhimiya district to the northwest, and the Tigris to the north, east and south. The Green Zone (International Zone) is in this district.
Today, it is also a neighborhood between the International Zone and the Tigris.Liger
The liger is a hybrid offspring of a male lion (Panthera leo) and a female tiger (Panthera tigris). The liger has parents in the same genus but of different species. The liger is distinct from the similar hybrid tigon, and is the largest of all known extant felines. They enjoy swimming, which is a characteristic of tigers, and are very sociable like lions. Notably, ligers typically grow larger than either parent species, unlike tigons.Malayan tiger
The Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is a tiger population in Peninsular Malaysia. This population inhabits the southern and central parts of the Malay Peninsula, and has been classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2015. The population was roughly estimated at 250 to 340 adult individuals in 2013, likely comprises less than 200 mature breeding individuals and has a declining trend.When in 1968 Panthera tigris corbetti was designated, the Malayan tiger was included into this subspecies. In 2004, Panthera tigris jacksoni was recognised as a distinct subspecies as a genetic analysis indicated differences in mtDNA and micro-satellite sequences to Panthera tigris corbetti.
Since revision of felid taxonomy in 2017, the Malayan tiger is recognised as a P. t. tigris population.In the Malay language, the tiger is called harimau, also abbreviated to rimau.Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in modern days roughly corresponding to most of Iraq, Kuwait, parts of Northern Saudi Arabia, the eastern parts of Syria, Southeastern Turkey, and regions along the Turkish–Syrian and Iran–Iraq borders.The Sumerians and Akkadians (including Assyrians and Babylonians) dominated Mesopotamia from the beginning of written history (c. 3100 BC) to the fall of Babylon in 539 BC, when it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire. It fell to Alexander the Great in 332 BC, and after his death, it became part of the Greek Seleucid Empire.
Around 150 BC, Mesopotamia was under the control of the Parthian Empire. Mesopotamia became a battleground between the Romans and Parthians, with western parts of Mesopotamia coming under ephemeral Roman control. In AD 226, the eastern regions of Mesopotamia fell to the Sassanid Persians. The division of Mesopotamia between Roman (Byzantine from AD 395) and Sassanid Empires lasted until the 7th century Muslim conquest of Persia of the Sasanian Empire and Muslim conquest of the Levant from Byzantines. A number of primarily neo-Assyrian and Christian native Mesopotamian states existed between the 1st century BC and 3rd century AD, including Adiabene, Osroene, and Hatra.
Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC. It has been identified as having "inspired some of the most important developments in human history including the invention of the wheel, the planting of the first cereal crops and the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture".Python molurus
Python molurus is a large, nonvenomous python species found in many tropical and subtropical areas of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is known by the common names Indian python, black-tailed python, and Indian rock python. It is generally lighter colored than the Burmese python and reaches usually 3 m (9.8 ft).River Tigris (constellation)
River Tigris or Tigris (named after the Tigris river) was a constellation, introduced in 1612 (or 1613) by Petrus Plancius. One end was near the shoulder of Ophiuchus and the other was near Pegasus, and in between it passed through the area now occupied by Vulpecula, flowing between Cygnus and Aquila. It did not appear on Johann Bode's atlases and was quickly forgotten.Seleucia
Seleucia (), also known as Seleucia-on-Tigris or Seleucia on the Tigris, was a major Mesopotamian city of the Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires. It stood on the west bank of the Tigris River opposite Ctesiphon, within the present-day Baghdad Governorate in Iraq.Siberian tiger
The Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is a tiger population in the Far East, particularly the Russian Far East and Northeast China. This population inhabits mainly the Sikhote Alin mountain region in southwest Primorye Province in the Russian Far East. The Siberian tiger once ranged throughout Korea, north China, Russian Far East, and eastern Mongolia. In 2005, there were 331–393 adult and subadult Siberian tigers in this region, with a breeding adult population of about 250 individuals. The population had been stable for more than a decade due to intensive conservation efforts, but partial surveys conducted after 2005 indicate that the Russian tiger population was declining. An initial census held in 2015 indicated that the Siberian tiger population had increased to 480–540 individuals in the Russian Far East, including 100 cubs. This was followed up by a more detailed census which revealed there was a total population of 562 wild Siberian tigers in Russia.Results of a phylogeographic study comparing mitochondrial DNA from Caspian tigers and living tiger subspecies indicate that the common ancestor of the Siberian and Caspian tigers colonized Central Asia from eastern China, via the Gansu−Silk Road corridor, and then subsequently traversed Siberia eastward to establish the Siberian tiger population in the Russian Far East. The Caspian and Siberian tiger populations were the northernmost in mainland Asia.The Siberian tiger was also called Amur tiger, Manchurian tiger, Korean tiger, and Ussurian tiger, depending on the region where individuals were observed.Sumatran tiger
The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) is a tiger population in the Indonesian island of Sumatra. This population was listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2008, as it was estimated at 441 to 679 individuals, with no subpopulation larger than 50 individuals and a declining trend.The Sumatran tiger is the only surviving tiger population in the Sunda Islands, where the Bali and Javan tigers are extinct. Sequences from complete mitochondrial genes of 34 tigers support the hypothesis that Sumatran tigers are diagnostically distinct from mainland subspecies.In 2017, the Cat Classification Task Force of the Cat Specialist Group revised felid taxonomy and recognizes the living and extinct tiger populations in Indonesia as P. t. sondaica.Tiger
The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest species among the Felidae and classified in the genus Panthera. It is most recognizable for its dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with a lighter underside. It is an apex predator, primarily preying on ungulates such as deer and bovids. It is territorial and generally a solitary but social predator, requiring large contiguous areas of habitat, which support its requirements for prey and rearing of its offspring. Tiger cubs stay with their mother for about two years, before they become independent and leave their mother's home range to establish their own.
The tiger once ranged widely from Eastern Anatolia Region in the west to the Amur River basin, and in the south from the foothills of the Himalayas to Bali in the Sunda islands. Since the early 20th century, tiger populations have lost at least 93% of their historic range and have been extirpated in Western and Central Asia, from the islands of Java and Bali, and in large areas of Southeast and South Asia and China. Today's tiger range is fragmented, stretching from Siberian temperate forests to subtropical and tropical forests on the Indian subcontinent and Sumatra. The tiger is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1986. As of 2015, the global wild tiger population was estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948 mature individuals, down from around 100,000 at the start of the 20th century, with most remaining populations occurring in small pockets isolated from each other. Major reasons for population decline include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching. This, coupled with the fact that it lives in some of the more densely populated places on Earth, has caused significant conflicts with humans.
The tiger is among the most recognisable and popular of the world's charismatic megafauna. It featured prominently in ancient mythology and folklore and continues to be depicted in modern films and literature, appearing on many flags, coats of arms and as mascots for sporting teams. The tiger is the national animal of India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and South Korea.Tigris–Euphrates river system
The Tigris and Euphrates, with their tributaries, form a major river system in Western Asia. From sources originating in eastern Turkey, they flow by/through Syria through Iraq into the Persian Gulf. The system is part of the Palearctic Tigris–Euphrates ecoregion, which includes Iraq and parts of Turkey, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan.
From their sources and upper courses in the mountains of eastern Anatolia, the rivers descend through valleys and gorges to the uplands of Syria and northern Iraq and then to the alluvial plain of central Iraq. The rivers flow in a south-easterly direction through the central plain and combine at Al-Qurnah to form the Shatt al-Arab and discharge into the Persian Gulf.The region has historical importance as part of the Fertile Crescent region, in which civilization is believed to have first emerged.
|Culture / Society|
Ancient Near East portal