Erbil (or Irbil or Arbil), the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, is one of the longest continually inhabited settlements in the world, with evidence of human settlement dating as early as 5,000 years ago. During the long US-Iraq War (2003 – 2011), the Kurdistan region was known as being relatively peaceful, due in part to its relative independent governance by the Kurdish people; Kurdistan has been a semi-autonomous region of Iraq since 1970. The Irbil Citadel stands at the center of the ancient city, rising over 100 ft from the surrounding plain.
Numerous modifications were made to the citadel throughout the 20th century. In 2000, 2002, and 2004, the citadel was put on the World Monuments Watch List by the World Monuments Fund. In 2007, the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization (HCECR) was created to oversee the citadel’s restoration. In 2010, the citadel was put on the tentative list for World Heritage status, and in 2014 the nomination of the site to the World Heritage List was approved. (Photo of the citadel from 2008 by Jan Kurdistani is shared here under CC BY-SA 2.0).
After 6,000 years of human habitation, one family and lots of mice
By Rod Nordland
The Seattle Times
October 13, 2017