Kirkuk Citadel

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Kirkuk citadel
Kurdish: Qelay Kerkûk, Arabic: قلعة كركوك Qal’at Karkuk
Kirkuk, Iraq
Outside Wall at Kirkuk Citadel
Aerial view of the Kirkuk citadel
Site information
Open to
the public
Yes
Condition Partially ruined
Official name Kirkuk Citadel
Type Cultural
Criteria iv
State Party Iraq
Region Middle East

The Kirkuk Citadel Kurdish: Qelay Kerkûk, Arabic: قلعة كركوك‎ Qal’at Karkuk) is located in the centre of the city of Kirkuk in Iraq, and is considered to be the oldest part of the city. The citadel stands on an artificial mound 130 feet high located on a plateau across the Khasa River. The mound, or tell, is believed to have been built by King Ashurnasirpal II between 884 and 858 BCE as a military defence line of Arrapha.

Later King Sluks[1] built a strong rampart with 72 towers around the 72 streets and the two entries to the citadel. A jewel of the citadel is the so-called "Red Church", with traces of pre-Muslim mosaics. It is believed that Timur visited the citadel in 1393 during his military expedition. The modern walls go back to the Ottoman period.

In the 1990s, Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi president, announced a campaign to beautify the walled citadel. Some believe that the campaign's intention was to remove the 800 - 900 mostly Kurdish families living in its ancient houses.

The citadel is considered by Kurdish as an important factor in their history. There are several Kurdish neighbourhoods within and around the citadel, such as Topkapi, Helvacilar, Hamam, Agalik, Yedi Kizlar, and Zindan. A large number of historical and religious sites still exist there, such as a tomb that is believed to be the prophet Daniel's Tomb.[2]

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Coordinates: 35°28′11″N 44°23′45″E / 35.46972°N 44.39583°E / 35.46972; 44.39583