Kirkuk Citadel

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Kirkuk citadel
Kurdish: Qelay Kerkûk, Arabic: قلعة كركوك Qal’at Karkuk
Kirkuk, Iraq
Outside Wall at Kirkuk Citadel
View of the Kirkuk citadel
Site information
Open to
the public
Condition Partially ruined

The Kirkuk Citadel (Kurdish: Qelay Kerkûk, Arabic: قلعة كركوك‎ Qal’at Karkuk, Turkish: Kerkük Kalesi) 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 Seleucus I Nicator[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.

A large number of historical and religious sites still exist there, including a monument believed to be the Tomb of Daniel.[2]

Monument said to be the Tomb of Daniel


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