Erbil Citadel on UNESCO list


Erbil Citadel. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan – The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) included on Saturday, in the Qatari capital of Doha, Erbil’s citadel (capital of Iraqi Kurdistan) on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The representative of the Iraqi delegation stated that the inclusion of Erbil Citadel on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site represents a gift to his people (the Kurdish people) and all of Iraq’s communities, “which gives some optimism and hope in these hard conditions Iraq passes”.

Erbil Citadel is considered an old fortified location in the city center built on a large elliptical hilltop. The long wall which is formed of facades of houses from the 19th century gives an impression of a visual fortified castle overlooking the city of Erbil.

The citadel dates back to more than 6000 years as its existence started with the Assyrian era. It was built for defensive purposes, and is considered the city’s main stronghold. Recently, the citadel was hosting lower classes of the population and refugees from other cities of Iraq.

Ismail Darwish, an architect  in Iraqi Kurdistan, stated to ARA News that the Kurds were not only a number being added to the Middle Eastern communities, “but they had efficient role of changing a lot of facts on the ground, and history asserts that”.

“The Kurdish people, land, and heritage cannot be marginalized by the world, and Erbil Citadel is one of those achievements that survived throughout the Kurdish history,” Darwish said. “Including Erbil Citadel on the UNESCO list is not surprising, but it is the duty of the international community to recognize this great heritage, which has been ignored so much as a result of international interests.”

Talking to ARA News in Erbil, Darwish emphasized that Erbil Citadel is “not the only ignored part of the great heritage of Kurdistan, but it is small part of the whole heritage of the four regions (in reference to the 4 parts of great Kurdistan which was divided by the Sykes-Picot agreement on 1916) which are rich with ancient heritage.”

The Erbil Citadel is considered an important tourist attraction for visitors of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. It attracts tourists from all over the world, especially in light of security and stability which the region enjoys, unlike other parts of Iraq.


Reporting by: Azad Jamkari

Source: ARA News

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