|• Type||Lijna, Committee|
|• Mukhtar||Toma Gidde|
|• Total||18 km2 (7 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,723 m (5,653 ft)|
|• Total||200+ (estimate)|
Araden (Syriac: ܐܪܕܢ) is an Assyrian village in the northern Iraqi governorate of Dohuk. It is located approximately 20-30 kilometers (12–19 miles) east of the city of Zakho. The homes lie on the side of the mountain, but the land stretches over 18 kilometers. The village of Einishk lies a few miles to the east, and the Kurdish village of Bamerne is to the west, Sarsing can be seen to the south. The name Araden means "Land of Eden" in old Aramaic.
The inhabitants speak Neo-Aramaic with an accent close to that of Old Aramaic.
Chaldean Catholicism is the dominant religion of the village. Two of the oldest churches in Christianity, Mart Shmoni, and the church of Sultana Mahdokht, established in 325 AD, are located in Araden, along with Libbat Isho, which was established in the 1980s. Prior to the 18th century, the inhabitants belonged to the Assyrian Church of the East, but gradually converted to Catholicism. Today, there are more than 150 homes in the village.
The people of the village are Assyrians, and have inhabited the land for thousands of years. The village is relativity famous among its neighboring towns and villages for having many green-eyed and red haired people.
The social rankings in the village are based by which house a person is from. The chief house takes the name of "Rayes", which means chief. These people come from the Assyrian village of Jilu, in southern Turkey. The second house is "Kasha" meaning priest. These people come from the Assyrian village of Tyareh, also in southern Turkey. The final house is "Sanna". This means house of the "People", and they come from the Assyrian village of Baz, which is also located in southern Turkey. All houses however break up into different sub-houses.
Before the 1959 Kurdish-Iraqi War, land towards the summit of the mountain was granted by the heads of the village for Kurdish refugees to live on during the Kurdish rebellions. This brought about a second village in Araden called "Aradenlaya" where Kurdish families were hidden from the Iraqi military. The military eventually caught on to the location during the first Kurdish-Iraqi War and bombed the village, disbursing the residents to other villages. Today, those families are part of a new Kurdish town called Qadish, which lies about 7 kilometers east of Araden.
There is a large community of people from Araden in Metro Detroit (Warren, Sterling Heights, and Troy), Michigan. Every year the people of Araden gather on January 12, when there is a celebration for the saint Sultana Mahdokht, called Shera. This is a big event in the Assyrian community of Michigan, as the attendance is overwhelming. Also every year on 15 June, Aradnayeh get together in Shelby Township, for a large celebration at the Stony Creek Metropark.
After the Iraqi Kurdish government rose, many environmental protection laws were passed in the region to help restore the wildlife to the way it was before the wars that took place. Since then, the wildlife population has risen greatly due to better habitat conditions . Hedgehogs, frogs, boars, foxes, bats, bears, and wolves are just some of the kinds of animals that inhabit the stretch of land.
Most of the village is covered by fruit and nut bearing trees. To the north, higher up on the mountain towards a region of the land called "Gozaneh", large walnut trees grow around one of the springs that comes from the mountain. Loquat trees grow on the land below Gozaneh, along with quince, citron, orange, apple, and lemon trees. Around the residential lands, mulberry, blackberry, raspberry, and plum trees grow towards the lower edge of the village. Down in the valley towards the church Sultana Mahdokht, grows an abundance of pecan trees. However the entire region of Araden is covered in almond trees. The non fruit bearing trees include Cyprus, Cedar, Pine, Oak and spruce. In recent years, the Kurdistan Regional Government has banned the cutting of trees without a license, so these trees are beginning to grow in abundance all over the region.