Erbil History, Archaeology, Arts and Architecture (Session 8)


Presented by Mohamed Y. M. AL- BARZNGY

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Mohamed Yahya Mohamed Al-Barzngy is a PhD candidate in Architectural Department- Salahaddin University-Erbil. He holds an MSc in Urban Regeneration from the University of Manchester UK (2014). He also holds a BSc and a Higher Diploma in Architectural Engineering from Salahaddin University (2004 and 2009).

He has worked as an engineer and designer in the public sector since 2005. In 2007 he held the position of head of technical department in the directorate of projects in F.L.K (Kurdistan Army leadership). Between 2009 and 2011 he was the Director of Planning department. From 2011 to 2016, he was deputy director in the Directorate of military housing. From 2016 onwards he has been working as a chief architect responsible for designing, approving and supervising architectural designs and projects.


The efficiency of Erbil citadel as a world heritage site with substantial historic value, being the longest continuously inhabited settlement globally, raises questions. The site suffered intensively from inadequate maintenance by its previous inhabitants because of not having clear legislation by authorities to prevent such practices. Those were mostly from other areas (distant villages) displaced by central government in the 1980s. These were evacuated in 2006 as an attempt to nominate the citadel for World Heritage List. Later, the site was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014. However, this inscription is not a magic tool through which such a site can be enlivened but acts as a medium to raise awareness of local communities and stakeholders towards the significance of the heritage site/monument, preventing further deterioration and providing an avenue for systematic provision of funds from international and local organizations. This paper will use the available documentation for detecting the current condition of the citadel especially its architectural elements as the backbone of the citadel heritage site.

The aim of this paper is to assess the current condition and approach of heritage preservation implemented so far in the citadel followed by recommendation for a proper approach which can contribute to enlivening the citadel as a traditional architectural landmark for the city and the region as a whole.

The investigation found that the current approach of Erbil citadel preservation is a monumental (dead) heritage approach in which the heritage site is seen as a static object of the past to be passed on to future generations. Enlivening such a heritage requires more innovative approach through which the living dimension of the heritage site is emphasized.

Seminar: Erbil as Referred to in the Ottoman Archive Documents

Presented by Ashty RAHMAN

Salahaddin University-Erbil

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Ashty Rahman is a PhD candidate at the University of Harran in Turkey. She is a member of the teaching staff at Salahaddin University in the College of Arts. Her research starting in 2018 was on the Ottoman archive documents, in coordination with Cihan University publishing center. She managed to publish Kurdish translations of selected documents from the Ottoman archive regarding Kurdistan cities as follows: Erbil-2 volumes, Barzan and Zibar-2 volumes, Bazian-1 volume, Koya-1 volume, Rania-1 volume, Sulaimaniyah-2 volumes, Zakho-1 volume and Kirkuk-2 volumes.


Erbil is one of the old urban settlements, its history may go back to 5000 BCE, it was ruled, governed and inhabited by various nations and states, like (but not limited to) Assyrian, Sasanian, later various Islamic states (Umayyad and Abbasid) ending with Ottomans after the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514 between Safavid and Ottoman empires. Erbil City and its surroundings became part of the Ottoman Empire till the year 1920 when Iraq as a state was established.

Starting from the 16th century, Erbil area became officially part of the Ottoman Empire properties, it was a center of a (Kazaa) composed of 2 (Nahiaa) and 300 villages as per the administrative hierarchy of the Ottoman Empire at that time. Erbil (Kazza) was related to Baghdad (Vilayet) then it was elated to (Shaherzoor Sanjak) then it was part of Mosul (Vilayet). Erbil city inhabitants were mainly state official staff, craftsmen and trades men, while the surrounding area was inhabited by tribal nomads and villagers who were mainly Kurds who were practicing cattle raising and agriculture, Erbil City had a strategic location being a station within the Mosul Baghdad transportation route. This location gave it a transportation, communication and economic importance in the area. Citizens of Erbil City were Muslims, Christians and Jews who managed to live together in peace for centuries. It was a place for people of multi-ethnic origin peaceful living.

Documents of the Ottoman Archive were official letters that maintains the communication administration and government issues of the Ottoman Empire. Today these documents are historical evidence that contains important and essential information that can fill gaps in the historical narration regarding Erbil City especially for the period from 1700-1920.

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Presented by: Mahmood A. Bakr Khayyat, PhD



19 May, 2022 2:00 pm


19 May, 2022 4:00 pm


Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering