Ashur Iraq

The ancient city of Ashur is located on the Tigris River in northern Mesopotamia in a specific geo-ecological zone, at the borderline between rain-fed and irrigation agriculture. The city dates back to the 3rd millennium BC. From the 14th to the 9th centuries BC it was the first capital of the Assyrian Empire, a city-state and trading platform of international importance. It also served as the religious capital of the Assyrians, associated with the god Ashur. The city was destroyed by the Babylonians, but revived during the Parthian period in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The history of the city of Ashur goes back to the Sumerian Early Dynastic period (first half of the 3rd millennium BCE). Some remains may even date to preceding periods. For this early part the stratigraphic excavation of the temple of Ishtar provided substantial information about the development of the religious architecture. Two of the five major building stages of it belong to this period.

Ashur Iraq
Continent: Asia
Country: Iraq
Category: Danger List
Criterion: (III) (IV)
Date of Inscription: 2003

Capital of Assyria

During the Akkadian empire Ashur was an important centre, and a governor of the third dynasty of Ur ruled over the city which had to pay taxes to the central administration in the south. Still, the temple of Ishtar and its findings remain the main archaeological reference point. As an independent citystate Ashur became capital of Assyria and the Assyrians during the 2nd millennium BCE starting with the Old- Assyrian rulers Erishum, Ilushuma and Shamshi-Adad I and thereafter with the Middle-Assyrian kings Eriba- Adad I and Ashuniballit I.

Ashur Iraq Heritage
Ashur Iraq

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Political capital

Ashur remained political capital until the reign of the Neo- Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BCE), who moved it to Kalhu (modern Nimrud). After that, Ashur continued to be an important religious and provincial Assyrian centre even though it had lost its function as national capital.

The Neo-Assyrian kings executed restoration work at the main sanctuaries and palaces of Ashur as it was requested by the inscriptions of their predecessors and erected the royal burial place within the area of the Old royal palace.

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