Zakho (Kurdish: Zaxo‎, ; زاخۆ, Arabic: زاخو‎; Hebrew: זאכו; Armenian: Զախո; Syriac: ܙܵܟ̣ܘ̇‎, romanizedZākhō) is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan, at the centre of the eponymous Zakho District of the Dohuk Governorate of Kurdistan Region, located a few kilometers from the Iraqi–Turkish border. The city has a population of 212,000.

It may have originally begun on a small island surrounded on all sides by the Little Khabur river, which flows through the modern city. The Khabur flows west from Zakho to form the border between Iraq and Turkey, continuing into the Tigris. The most important rivers in the area are the Zeriza, Seerkotik and the aforementioned Little Khabur.[1]

In July 2010, Zakho became the seat of the University of Zakho, one of only eleven public universities in the Kurdistan Region region.



The Little Khabur flowing through Zakho
The Little Khabur flowing through Zakho
Zakho is located in Iraqi Kurdistan
Location in Iraq
Zakho is located in Iraq
Zakho (Iraq)
Coordinates: 37°08′37.00″N 42°40′54.88″E / 37.1436111°N 42.6819111°E
Country Iraq
Region Kurdistan Region
GovernorateDohuk Governorate
DistrictZakho District
440 m (1,440 ft)
 • Total212,000+
Time zoneUTC+3
 • Summer (DST)not observed


The derivation of the name "Zakho" is from the Aramaic word zāḵū (זָכוּ, "victory"), after the battle fought between the Romans and the Persians near the city, which resulted in a Roman victory.


According to an oral tradition transmitted by a Jewish informant from Zakho, Me'allim Levi, Zakho was established in 1568 by Slivani tribesmen, whose territory was streached south of the location of the town. The family of Shamdin Agha came originally from the Slivani tribe, settled in Zakho, and became the most prominent family in Zakho. From the late 19th century onwards, the family of Shamdin Agha ruled “all the Muslims, Jews and Christians of Zakho and its surroundings.”[2] Zakho was known to the ancient Greeks. In 1844, the traveller William Francis Ainsworth commented: "The appearance of Zakho in the present day coincides in a remarkable manner with what it was described to be in the time of Xenophon."

Gertrude Bell was convinced that Zakho was same place as the ancient town of Hasaniyeh. She also reported that the first Christian missionary to the region, the Dominican friar Poldo Soldini, was buried there in 1779. His grave was still a pilgrimage destination in the 1950s.[3][4]

Zakho has served as a checkpoint for many decades. It is a major marketplace with its goods and merchandise serving the Kurdish controlled area and most of north and middle Iraq. Writing in 1818, Campanile described the town as a great trading centre, famous for its gallnuts as well as rice, oil, sesame, wax, lentils and many fruits.[4]

Recent history

Due to its strategic location and the abundance of job opportunities, Zakho has attracted many workers and job seekers from different parts of Iraq and even from Syria and Turkey. Trade with Turkey is now the major element of the economy.[5] Oil drilling began in 2005.[6]

In 1991 Zakho was the centre of the haven established by the British and the Americans in Operation Provide Comfort to protect the Iraqi Kurds from being massacred by Saddam Hussein when he responded brutally to the Kurdish rebellion. Most of the inhabitants of the city had fled to the mountains. When the American forces arrived, they described the town as a ghost city.[7]

When the American Army closed its military base in Zakho in 1996, they evacuated several thousand Kurds who had connections to the base and who feared reprisals. Many of them were given asylum in the USA. According to McDowall, this constituted a sudden and brutal brain-drain, with Zakho losing many of its most educated citizens.[8]

In 2008 it was reported that the Turkish army maintained four bases in the Zakho district, under an agreement concluded with the Iraqi government in the 1990s.[9]

The 2011 Dohuk riots which targeted Assyrian-owned businesses were sparked by Muslim clerics in the town.[10]


Assyrians of Zakho

Assyrians have lived in Zakho since at least the 5th century, with some Assyrian bishops being mentioned from the fifth to the seventh century, which indicates its long history (Chabot, "Synodicon orientale", 676). Additionally, The city was the center of a large Chaldean Catholic diocese up until the middle of the nineteenth century, when it was divided into three dioceses: Amadia, Zakho, and Akra-Zehbar. The historic diocese of Zakho corresponded with the ancient Diocese of Malta, formerly a suffragan of Arbela, and it had many Chaldean Catholic villages and parishes in the mountains to the north of the city.[11] However, the diocese was recently merged(or in religious terminology, suppressed) back into the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Amadiya in 2013 due to becoming vacant after the death of its Bishop in 2010. Prior to merging with Amadiya, The diocese comprised 3500 Assyrian Catholics, ten resident priests, fifteen parishes or stations, twenty churches and chapels, and one primary school. In regards to the city of Zakho itself, there is a large Assyrian population. The Assyrians of Zakho are primarily Chaldean Catholic Christians and have a large church which lies in the center of the city which once functioned as the Cathedral of the Diocese,[12] in addition to a smaller Church as well.[13]

Armenians of Zakho

The Armenians of Zakho established their community after the Armenian Genocide from 1915-1923, with the first church Armenian church in the city being established in 1923.[14] Some of the Armenians of Zakho left in 1932 to found the village of Avzrog Miri in the plains west of the city of Simele.[15]

Jews of Zakho

Zakho was formerly known for its Synagogues and large, ancient Jewish community and was known as "The Jerusalem of Mesopotamia". The banks of the nearby Khabur River are mentioned in the Bible as one of the places to which the Israelites were exiled (1 Chronicles, 5:26,[16] 2 Kings 17:6, 2 Kings 18:11).

The Jews spoke the Aramaic of their ancestors and were also fluent in kurmanji, the language spoken by non-Jewish Kurds[17].

Kurdish society was primarily a tribal one. Jews of Zalho bore arms like Kurdish Muslims[18]. There was an attack on the Jews in 1891, when one of the synagogues was burnt down. The troubles intensified in 1892.

Most of the Jews relocated to Israel in the 1950s.[19]

While the Jews of Zakho were among the least literate in the Jewish diaspora, they had a unique and rich oral tradition, known for its legends, epics and ballads, whose heroes came from both Jewish and Muslim traditions.[20]


Zakho has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa) with very hot and dry summers, and cool winters with abundant winter rainfall.


C (201)
Delal Bridge

One of Zakho's famous landmarks is the Delal Bridge. It is made with large stones which adds to the aesthetic value of the bridge and makes it a source of many theories as to how it was built. (The stones are very large, and there was no machinery available at that time.) Delal

Zakho castle lies in the city centre on the western bank of Khabir river. It served as the governor's house in the reign of the Badinan Emirate and was extended by prince Ali Khan. It was built on the ruins of an older castle. Today, only the tower remains.

Sharansh waterfall

Qubad Pasha castle, in Zakho cemetery, is hexagonal, with six windows and an entrance gate.[22]

Population displacements

Many Assyrian people living in the diaspora, notably from American cities such as Nashville, Detroit, San Diego, Houston, and Phoenix, trace their origins to Zakho.

In 2007, the UNHCR reported that there were still 10,000 internally displaced persons in the Zakho district as a result of the Iraq War.[23]


Zakho Football Club (Zakho FC) is a sports club in Kurdistan Region, which was founded in 1987. The sports club plays in the Iraqi Premier League, where only the top 16 Iraqi football clubs play. Zakho FC has its own stadium with a capacity of 20,000 seats.

Football Stadium of Zakho
Football Stadium of Zakho

Zakho Basketball Club (Zakho SC) is a team based in Zakho, Kurdistan Region. In 2011 Zakho SC won the Kurdistan Basketball Super Cup and beat Duhok SC in Erbil.[24]

See also


  1. ^ retrieved the 15th of May 2011
  2. ^ Mordcechai Zaken, Jewish Subjects and their Tribal Vhieftains in Kurdistan, 2007: 33-35.
  3. ^ Bell, Gertrude Lothian (1924). Amurath to Amurath. Macmillan. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  4. ^ a b Campanile, Giuseppe (1953). "Histoire du Kurdistan" (PDF). Le Kréyé. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  5. ^ "KDP Flexes Muscles in Dohuk". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. 2009-07-21. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  6. ^ "Foreign oil deal renews debate on Kurd autonomy". USA Today. 2005-12-09. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  7. ^ Cavanaugh, John P. (1992). "Operation Provide Comfort: a model for future operations" (PDF). School of advanced military studies, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  8. ^ McDowall, David (2004). A modern history of the Kurds. Tauris. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  9. ^ "Iraqi Kurdish Paper Says Turkish Military Bases Inside Kurdistan Region". iStockAnalyst. 2008-08-01. Archived from the original on 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  10. ^ Tawfeeq, Mohammed (3 December 2011). "Kurdish leader: Clerics 'instigated ... acts of sabotage,' wounding 25". CNN. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  11. ^ "Chaldean Parishes around the world". St Peter the Apostle Catholic Diocese for Chaldeans and Assyrians USA. Archived from the original on 2009-08-14. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  12. ^ "Maryam Alazra church – Zakho".
  13. ^ "Maryam Alazra church – Zakho-Abbaseya".
  14. ^ "Maryam Alazra church –Zakho – Kesta".
  15. ^
  16. ^ 1 Chronicles 5
  17. ^ Gavish, Haya (2009). "Unwitting Zionists: The Jewish Community of Zakho in Iraqi Kurdistan p.48". Wayne State University Press. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  18. ^ Gavish, Haya (2009). "Unwitting Zionists: The Jewish Community of Zakho in Iraqi Kurdistan p.28". Wayne State University Press. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  19. ^ Gavish, Haya (2009). "Unwitting Zionists: The Jewish Community of Zakho in Iraqi Kurdistan". Wayne State University Press. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  20. ^ Shai, Donna (2008-10-09). "Changes in the oral tradition among the jews of kurdistan". Contemporary Jewry - Springer Netherlands. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  21. ^ "CLIMATE: ZAKHO". Climate-Data. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  22. ^ "Zaxo". Kurdawary. 2004. Archived from the original on October 25, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  23. ^ "GOVERNORATE ASSESSMENT REPORT: DAHUK GOVERNORATE" (PDF). UNHCR. September 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  24. ^ "Zakho wins Kurdistan basketball Super Cup Archived 2014-03-07 at the Wayback Machine," Kurdish Globe, retrieved 2014-01-30


External links

Coordinates: 37°09′N 42°41′E / 37.150°N 42.683°E

2012–13 Iraq FA Cup

The 2012–13 Iraq FA Cup was the 26th occurrence of the Iraq FA Cup, the main domestic cup in Iraqi football. It was the first edition held since the 2002–03 season.

The tournament was abandoned before the start of the Round of 16, because of scheduling difficulties the Iraq Football Association had with the 2012–13 Iraqi Elite League.

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.

2016–17 Iraqi Premier League

The 2016–17 Iraqi Premier League (Arabic: الدوري العراقي الممتاز 2016–17‎) was the 43rd season of the Iraqi Premier League, the highest division for Iraqi association football clubs, since its establishment in 1974. The season started on 15 September 2016, and ended on 10 August 2017.Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya won their sixth Premier League title, finishing four points ahead of second-placed Al-Naft and losing just one game throughout the campaign. This was Jawiya's first league title since the 2004–05 season, and their manager Basim Qasim became the joint-most successful manager in the league's history with three titles.

2017–18 Iraqi Premier League

The 2017–18 Iraqi Premier League (Arabic: الدوري العراقي الممتاز 2017–18‎) was the 44th season of the Iraqi Premier League, the highest division for Iraqi association football clubs, since its establishment in 1974. The season started on 20 November 2017, and ended on 18 July 2018. Al-Zawraa won a record 14th title, finishing four points ahead of both the previous season's champions and runners-up (Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya and Al-Naft respectively) and five points ahead of Al-Shorta.

2018–19 Iraq Division One

The Iraq Division One of 2018–19. Al-Qasim won the league and were promoted to the 2019–20 Iraqi Premier League along with Zakho.

2019–20 Iraqi Premier League

The 2019–20 Iraqi Premier League (Arabic: الدوري العراقي الممتاز 2019–20‎) is the 46th season of the Iraqi Premier League, the highest division for Iraqi association football clubs, since its establishment in 1974. The season started on 18 September 2019 and is scheduled to end on 25 May 2020.

Alassane Diop (footballer)

Alassane Diop (born 22 September 1997) is a Mauritanian footballer who plays as a midfielder for Zakho and the Mauritania national team.

Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Amadiyah and Zaku

Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Zakho is a diocese of the Chaldean Church in the second half of the 19th century and for most of the 20th century. The diocese of Zakho was merged with the Chaldean diocese of ʿAmadiya in 1987. In December 2001, a new bishop was consecrated. In July 2013, Zakho was suppressed to the Diocese of Amadiyah.

Dohuk Governorate

Dohuk Governorate (Kurdish: پارێزگای دھۆک‎, Parêzgeha Dihok; Syriac: ܗܘܦܲܪܟܝܵܐ ܕܕܸܗܘܟ‎; Arabic: محافظة دهوك‎, romanized: Muḥāfaẓat Dahūk) is a governorate in the autonomous region of Kurdistan Region. Its capital is the city of Dohuk. It includes Zakho, the city that meets Ibrahim Khalil border between Turkey and Iraq. It borders the Al-Hasakah Governorate of Syria. Before 1976, it was part of Nineveh Governorate, which was called Mosul Governorate. Dohuk Governorate is mainly inhabited by Kurds and Assyrians, with a small number of Yazidis and Armenians. The estimated population in 2018 was 1,292,535.

Hezil Suyu

The Hezil Suyu (Arabic: نهر الهيزل‎ Nahr al-Hayzal, or Hezil Çayı or the Nizil river, in Turkish language suyu means water of) is a river in south-eastern Turkey in the Eastern Anatolia Region which flows entirely in the Şırnak Province and is part of the natural border between Turkey and the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Just before it forms the border, it is dammed by the Silopi Dam. Just west of the city of Zakho in Iraq, it joins the Little Khabur river, which then forms the border.

The Hezil Suyu river is not to be mistaken with the Little Khabur river

which is tributary to the Tigris river

and flows east of Zakho city and goes through the Zakho city joining its tributary the Hezil Suyu west of Zakho city.

Iraq Division One

Iraq Division One is the second-highest division in Iraqi football after the Iraqi Premier League. Each year, the top two teams in the league are promoted to the Iraqi Premier League.

It was originally called the Division Two but has been known as the Division One since 2003. In the 2018–19 season, Al-Qasim won the title and were promoted alongside runners-up Zakho.

Iraqi Basketball League

The Iraqi Basketball League (IBL) is the highest professional basketball league in Iraq.

Josué Flores

Josué Odir Flores Palencia (born May 13, 1988 in Santa Ana, El Salvador) is a Salvadoran professional footballer.

Khabur (Tigris)

The Khabur or Little Khabur (Kurdish: Xabûr‎, Ava Xabûr or Xabîr, Turkish: Habur, Khabir or Habur Suyu (Habur Water)) is river that rises in Turkey and flows through Iraq to join the Tigris at the tripoint of Turkey, Iraq and Syria.

The river originates in the Uludere District in Turkey and emerges from a number of small rivers flowing off the Bolkar Mountains, the central range in the Taurus Mountains, to the south-east of Hakkâri. From there, it generally flows south, crossing the Turkish-Iraqi border into Iraqi Kurdistan before turning west toward the Tigris. Zakho is an important town along the river, where the ancient Delal Bridge crosses the river. A few kilometres west of Zakho, the Little Khabur is joined by its main tributary the Hezil Suyu (or Nizil river or Hezil Çayı), which forms part of the border between Iraq and Turkey. From there onward the Little Khabur river forms the border for around 20 km to the Tigris and is also called (and often mistaken with) the Hezil Suyu.

Lishana Deni

Lishana Deni is a modern Jewish Aramaic language, often called Neo-Aramaic or Judeo-Aramaic. It was originally spoken in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey in the lands west of the Great Zab river (Athura). Following the exodus of Jews from the Muslim lands, most speakers now live in Israel, principally Jerusalem and surrounding villages.

The name Lishana Deni means 'our language', and is similar to names used by other Jewish Neo-Aramaic dialects (Lishan Didan, Lishanid Noshan). Other popular names for the language are Lishan Hozaye, 'the language of the Jews', and Kurdit, 'Kurdish'. Scholarly sources tend simply to refer to Lishana Deni as Zakho Jewish Neo-Aramaic although it was spoken in the entire region west of the Great Zab river.

List of Assyrian settlements

The following is a list of Assyrian settlements in the Middle East subsequent to the Assyrian genocide in 1914. This list includes settlement of Assyrians from Southeastern Turkey who left their ancient tribes in Hakkari (or the historical Hakkari region), Sirnak and Mardin province due to torment, violence and displacement by the Ottomans in the First World War. Many Assyrians from Urmia, Iran were also affected and as such have emigrated and settled in other towns. Resettling again occurred during the Simele massacre in northern Iraq, perpetrated by the Iraqi military coup in the 1930s, with many fleeing to northeastern Syria.Most modern resettlement is located in Iraq, Syria and Iran in the cities of Baghdad, Habbaniyah, Kirkuk, Duhok, Al-Hasakah, Tehran and Damascus. Few Assyrian settlements exist in Turkey today and also in the Caucasus. The exodus to the cities or towns of these aforementioned countries occurred between late 1910s and 1930s. After the Iraq War in 2003, a number of Assyrians in Baghdad relocated to Northern Iraq, repopulating parts of Iraqi Kurdistan, in what they now call the "Assyrian homeland". Many others have immigrated to North America, Europe and Australia, especially in the late 20th century and 21st century. Currently, there are a number of settlements on this list that have been abandoned due to persecution, conflict, and other causes.

Louis Raphaël I Sako

Louis Raphaël I Sako (Syriac: ܠܘܝܣ ܪܘܦܐܝܠ ܩܕܡܝܐ ܣܟܘ‎; born 4 July 1948) is the current Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and head of the Chaldean Catholic Church since 1 February 2013.

Pope Francis made him a cardinal on 28 June 2018.

Zakho District

Zakho District (Arabic: قضاء زاخو‎, romanized: qaḍāʾ Zāḫū; Sorani Kurdish: قەزای زاخۆ‎, romanized: qezayê Zaxo; Syriac: ܪܘܼܣܬܵܩܵܐ ܕܙܵܟ̣ܘ̇‎, romanized: rûstāqā Zākhō) is a district in northwestern Dohuk Governorate within the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq. Administrative center is the city of Zakho.

Zakho FC

Zakho Sport Club (Kurdish: یانا زاخو یا وه‌رزشی‎‎ / Yana Zaxo ya Werzişî) is a sports club based in Zakho, Dohuk, Iraq.

Zakho SC's biggest rivals are also their neighbours Duhok SC, always producing the most passionate and fierce matches every season, with whom they contest the Duhok Derby.

Climate data for Zakho
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 10.2
Average low °C (°F) 1.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 144
Source: [21]
By country
Districts of Iraq and their capitals
al-Anbar Governorate
Babil Governorate
Baghdad Governorate
Basra Governorate
Dhi Qar Governorate
Diyala Governorate
Dohuk Governorate
Erbil Governorate
Halabja Governorate
Karbala Governorate
Kirkuk Governorate
Maysan Governorate
Muthanna Governorate
Najaf Governorate
Nineveh Governorate
al-Qādisiyyah Governorate
Saladin Governorate
Sulaymaniyah Governorate
Wasit Governorate


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