Restoration planned for supercool Iraqi citadel

Irbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq, has a citadel. A citadel which has been continuously inhabited for 8,000 years. A citadel just 20 miles away from where Alexander the Great finally defeated King Darius in 331 B.C. A citadel on the verge of collapse.

The Kurdish government, in conjunction with a Czech restoration company and a variety of NGOs, has crafted a plan to restore this gem before it’s too late.

Little is known about the early inhabitants of Irbil but the citadel’s secret is water – an abundant supply has maintained civilization after civilization.

The site “is a rich historical repository holding evidence of many millennia of habitation, more than 8,000 years old, making it the longest continuously inhabited site in the world,” said UNESCO’s Djelid.

The citadel sits atop a roughly 30-metre-high mound formed by layers of successive settlements, including Assyrians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Persians and Greeks.

They need $35 million to get started, though, and right now the kitty is at zero. Here’s hoping the wondrous rare beauty and historical importance of this site inspires a flood of donations.

4 thoughts on “Restoration planned for supercool Iraqi citadel

  1. A citadel just 20 miles away from where Alexander the Great finally defeated King Darius in 331 B.C.

    …and that’s when he realized that Irbil is Arbela. Doh! I never put that particular 2+2 together.

    It looks amazing. I have the powerful urge to go there and climb all over it, and poke my nose into nooks (possibly even the occasional cranny). Yet, since I also have the powerful urge to remain alive, Iraq will not be on my travel agenda for some time, sadly. (Irbil is safer than most places in Iraq, but still.)

    Here’s hoping they get enough funding, expertise, and long-term stability to make the restoration stick.

    1. Kurdistan is actually making a point of seeking out tourists. It’s not for the Perillo tours polyester pants crowd, of course, and Baghdad Airport is a bit of a crap shoot, but once you get to Kurdistan itself, it’s a veritable Mesopotamian cakewalk. According to them.

      I’d love to poke about that citadel too. Now that they’ve moved the squatters out, you could go traipsing all over the place without bothering a soul.

  2. Alexander the Great and the Unity of Mankind

    W. W. TARN: Alexander the Great and theUnity of Mankind. (From the Proceedingsof the British Academy, vol. XIX.) Pp. 46.London : Milford, 1933. Paper, 2s. 6d. IN this thoughttul and thought-compelling paper Dr. Tarn presents Alexander in a somewhat unfamiliar light as the first propounder of the gospel of universal goodwill among mankind. The main lines of his argument are that ( I ) Alexander visualized nothing less than this ; (2) among earlier Greek thinkers 6p6uoiawas usually meant to begin and end at home ;(3) the Stoic 6p6vora was in the first instance borrowed from Alexander, and then reduced from a vital force to an inert gas by equation with the pre-existent cosmic harmony. The crux of this theory may be sought in Eratosthenes’account of Alexander’s philosophy(quoted by Strabo, 1. 66). Here Alexander’s 6pbvora is confined to the select class of cd85~ipoi&v8per. But the context suggests that (unlikethe Stoics) Alexander reckoned the sheep as far more numerous than the goats. Dr. Tarn admits that the germs of Alexander’s idea might be found in earlier Greek thought. It may be worth recalling that Alcidamas reckoned all men as @v’ucr ihehBrpor, and that Isocrates sold the pass of Greek privilege when he defined Hellenism as a matter of culture,not of race. But, as Dr. Tarn aptly insists, Alexander’s o,u^voza connoted more than absence of racial privilege, and the king reckoned it his duty not merely to recognize fraternity which others had brought about, but himself to sow its seeds on every soil (except the stoniest). Dr. Tarn’s paper confirms the view which he has put forth elsewhere-a view also expressed in Wilcken’s great work on Alexander-that the Macedonian king was not only one of theancient world’s great practitioners, but one of its great visionaries. ,V.CARY.C’niversity of London.

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