Cizre is historical Jazīrat ibn ʿUmar (or Jezira ibn Umar or Gazarta) Arabic: جزيرة ابن عمر, an important town during the Abbasid period and the Crusades as a gateway connecting Upper Mesopotamia to Armenia. During the Early Iron Age, Cizre was in the kingdom of Kumme, north of Assyria. In classical antiquity, it was located in Corduene (Kardu). In 19th century scholarship, it was often named as the location of Alexander's crossing of the Tigris in 331 BC, further identified with the Roman stronghold of Bezabde although Stein (1942) is sceptical of this.
In medieval Islamic tradition, it is the location of Thamanin, the town founded by Noah at the foot of Mount Judi where the Ark came to rest, and a "tomb of Noah" as well as a "tomb of Mem and Zin" can be visited in Cizre. Al-Masudi (d. 956) reports that the spot where the ark landed could still be seen in his time. Benjamin of Tudela in the 12th century adds that ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb had made the remnants of the ark into a mosque.
Cizre was the seat of the East Syrian bishops of Beth Zabdaï (later Gazarta d'Beth Zabdaï) as early as the fourth century, and the seat of the Chaldean bishops of Gazarta in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The East Syrian population of the Gazarta region was severely reduced in the 1915 Seyfo massacres, and the Chaldean diocese of Gazarta lapsed after the First World War.
The mayor of Cizre, Aydin Budak, was arrested in December 2009 as part of the KCK investigation. In October 2011 he was removed from office by the Ministry of the Interior before his trial had concluded.