Chamchamal (Arabic جمجمال, Kurdish: Çemçemall چهمچهماڵ) is a Kurdish city located to the east of Kirkuk and west of Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan. It is a 30 minutes drive from Kirkuk and a 40 minutes drive from Sulaymaniyah. The land is rich and it is famous for its oil and especially gas wells.
The city's population of 200,000 is relatively young. There is a castle in the center of the city they called " SPI hasar".
Kurdish Sorani is spoken by most inhabitants.
CHAMCHAMAL, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — There are hundreds of historical landmarks near Chamchamal district, in Kirkuk Province, the most prominent one being the White Citadel, threatened by decay, declares one historian.
is an ancient historical hill, rising 50 meters above the surrounding areas, which is formed of successive layers of human settlements, according to Sarwar Ahmed Karim, author of Chamchamal before the reign of Assyrians up to the reign of the Kurdistan Regional Government
“No tests have been made for the hill so that its history can be identified, however, Claudius James Rich (1787-1821) - the British business agent, traveler and archaeologist, in his journey to Kurdistan points out that at least it dates back to the time of the Sassanid’s, or even older as he says.
Historic landmarks under threat in Chamchamal, Iraqi Kurdistan In 1948, an expedition from the East Chicago University, led by professor Robert Braidwood, came to Chamchamal plain and began their studies on the archeological sites. In 1950, Braidwood started excavations in Charmo citadel, where they found some of the oldest archeological remnants called Bardabalaka and Karim Shayar.
As an expert on the archeological sites of the area, Karim sheds light on the decay of the historical landmarks, and believes that the government has not paid enough attention to them.
During the time of the former regime of Iraq, the Chamchamal citadel was a military stronghold, according to Karim.
And after the 1991 uprising of Kurdish people and the establishment of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the Kurdish government has not paid enough attention to the place. The historical sites, in particular the citadel, are threatened by destruction, he claims.
There are hundreds more historical sites in the area which remain ignored, one of them being the village of Charmo, which is believed to be the oldest village in the world.
“The former Iraqi government was attempting to sweep the historical sites of Kurdistan Region. Before the uprising of 1991, the citadel was used as a military stronghold,” says Hama Haidar, Director of Chamchamal Archeology.
Another problem hampering the preservation of the citadel is that residential houses and mosques are very close to the citadel, mentions Haidar.
“We are expecting that the government compensates the families living near the citadel so that they abandon the place which can then be preserved as a historical landmark, he tells.
The new cabinet of the KRG has also vowed to carry out some projects in the area, including the Chamchamal Citadel, concludes Haidar.