Assur, Iraq
Assur, Iraq
Assur, Iraq
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Ashur (Qal”at Sherqat) (Iraq)
Ashur (Qal”at Sherqat) (Iraq)
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The remains of the Neo-Assyrian city of Ashur, also known as Assur, Qal’at Sherqat and Kalah Shergat are found on the Western bank of the river Tigris in the Al-Shirqat district of modern-day Iraq. Ashur is a World Heritage Site which was first excavated at the beginning of the 19th century by archaeologists from the German Oriental Society.

The city was occupied from the middle of the 3rd century BC in the Sumerian period to the 14th century. Large temples to the deity from which the city gets its name — the national god of the Assyrians — were first erected around 2000 BC. By this time, the city has become an important centre for trade, particularly with trading colonies in Anatolia.

Between 1813 and 1781 BC, Ashur was the capital of the empire of Shamshi-Adad I. During this time, which coincided with the development of the first Assyrian empire, a ziggurat was added to the temple of Assur and site’s Great Royal Palace was built.

In the subsequent two centuries the city underwent further development including a substantial refortification. The 15th through 14th centuries BC saw a period of subjugation under Shaushtatar, king of Mitanni, followed by one of regeneration when the Mitanni were eventually overthrown by Ashur-uballit.

Throughout the time of the Neo-Assyrian empire, the city remained an important religious centre until it was sacked during the Assyrian conquest in 612 BC. Ashur was subsequently reoccupied by the Assyrians and, though it was sacked again by the Sassanid king Shapur I, remained occupied until the Tamurlane massacres of the 14th century.

The site was placed on the World Heritage Sites in danger list in 2003, both due to conflict and the threat of a proposed dam development in the area.

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