Erbil spelled Arbil, locally called Hewlêr by the Kurds, is the capital city of Kurdistan and the most populated city in the Kurdish inhabited areas of Iraq. It is located in the center of Iraqi Kurdistan region and north of Iraq, it has about 850,000 inhabitants, Erbil governorate has a permanent population of 2,009,367 as of 2015. Human settlement at Erbil can be dated back to 5th millennium BC, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the world. At the heart of the city is the ancient Citadel of Erbil; the earliest historical reference to the region dates to the Third Dynasty of Ur of Sumer, when King Shulgi mentioned the city of Urbilum. The city was conquered by the Assyrians. Erbil became an integral part of the kingdom of Assyria by at least the 21st century BC through to the end of the seventh century BC, after it was captured by the Gutians, it was known in Assyrian annals variously as Urbilim and Arba-ilu. After this it was part of the geopolitical province of Assyria under several empires in turn, including the Median Empire, the Achaemenid Empire, Macedonian Empire, Seleucid Empire, Parthian Empire, Roman Assyria and Sasanian Empire, as well as being the capital of the tributary state of Adiabene between the mid-second century BC and early second century AD.
Following the Muslim conquest of Persia, it no longer remained a unitary region, during the Middle Ages, the city came to be ruled by the Seljuk and Ottoman empires. Erbil's archaeological museum houses a large collection of pre-Islamic artefacts the art of Mesopotamia, is a center for archaeological projects in the area; the city was designated as Arab Tourism Capital 2014 by the Arab Council of Tourism. In July 2014, the Citadel of Arbil was inscribed as a World Heritage site; the city has an ethnically diverse population of Kurds, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Iraqi Turkmens, Yezidis and Mandaeans. It is religiously diverse, with believers of Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Yezidism, Yarsanism and Mandaeism extant in and around Erbil; the name Erbil was mentioned in Sumerian holy writings of third millennium BC as Urbilum, Urbelum or Urbillum, which appears to originate from Arbilum Later, the Akkadians and Assyrians by a folk etymology rendered the name as arba'ū ilū to mean. The city became a centre for the worship of the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar.
In classical times the city became known from the Syriac form of the name. In Old Persian, the city was called Arbairā. Today, the modern Kurdish name of the city, Hewlêr, appears to be a corruption of the name Arbel by a series of metatheses of consonants; the region in which Erbil lies was under Sumerian domination from c. 3000 BC, until the rise of the Akkadian Empire which united all of the Akkadian Semites and Sumerians of Mesopotamia under one rule. Today the Assyrian people, a Syriac-speaking community who claim descent from Akkadian speakers, endure as a minority in northern Iraq, north east Syria, south east Turkey and north west Iran, their population is estimated to be 3.3 million. The first mention of Erbil in literary sources' comes from the archives of the east Semitic speaking kingdom of Ebla, they record two journeys to Erbil by a messenger from Ebla around 2300 BC. Erridupizir, king of the language isolate speaking kingdom of Gutium, captured the city in 2150 BC; the Neo-Sumerian ruler of Ur, Amar-Sin, sacked Urbilum in his second year, c. 1975 BCErbil was an integral part of Assyria from around 2050 BC, becoming a important city during the Old Assyrian Empire, Middle Assyrian Empire and the Neo Assyrian Empire, until the last of these empires fell between 612–599 BC, however it remained part of Assyria under Persian, Parthian and Sassanid rule until the first half of the 7th century AD.
Under the Median Empire, Cyaxares might have settled a number of people from the Ancient Iranian tribe of Sagartians in the Assyrian cities of Arbela and Arrapha as a reward for their help in the capture of Nineveh. The Persian emperor Cyrus the Great occupied Assyria in 547 BC and established it as an Achaemenid satrapy called in Old Persian Aθurā, with Arbela as the capital; the Battle of Gaugamela, in which Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Persia in 331 BC, took place 100 kilometres west of Erbil. After the battle, Darius managed to flee to the city, somewhat inaccurately, the confrontation is sometimes known as the "Battle of Arbela". Subsequently, Arbela was part of Alexander's Empire. After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, Arbela became part of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. Erbil became part of the region disputed between Persia under the Sasanids; the ancient Assyrian kingdom of Adiabene had its centre at Erbil, the town and kingdom are known in Jewish Middle Eastern history for the conversion of the royal family to Judaism.
During the Parthian era to early Sassanid era, Erbil became the capital of the Assyrian state of Adiabene. Its populace gradually converted from the Mesopotamian religion between the 1st and 4th centuries to the Chaldean Catholic Church Christianity, with Pkidha traditionally becoming its first bishop around 104 AD, although the ancient Mesopotamian religion did not die out in the region until the 10th century AD; the metropolitanate of Ḥadyab in Arbela became a centre of eastern Syriac Christianity
In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate, confusing structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur, the monster killed by the hero Theseus. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could escape it after he built it. Although early Cretan coins exhibit branching patterns, the single-path seven-course "Classical" design without branching or dead ends became associated with the Labyrinth on coins as early as 430 BC, similar non-branching patterns became used as visual representations of the Labyrinth – though both logic and literary descriptions make it clear that the Minotaur was trapped in a complex branching maze; as the designs became more elaborate, visual depictions of the mythological Labyrinth from Roman times until the Renaissance are invariably unicursal. Branching mazes were reintroduced only. In English, the term labyrinth is synonymous with maze; as a result of the long history of unicursal representation of the mythological Labyrinth, many contemporary scholars and enthusiasts observe a distinction between the two.
In this specialized usage maze refers to a complex branching multicursal puzzle with choices of path and direction, while a unicursal labyrinth has only a single path to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route to the center and back and presents no navigational challenge. Unicursal labyrinths appeared as designs on pottery or basketry, as body art, in etchings on walls of caves or churches; the Romans created many decorative unicursal designs on walls and floors in tile or mosaic. Many labyrinths set in floors or on the ground are large enough. Unicursal patterns have been used both in group ritual and for private meditation, are found for therapeutic use in hospitals and hospices. Labyrinth is a word of pre-Greek origin, which the Greeks associated with the palace of Knossos in Crete, excavated by Arthur Evans early in the 20th century; the word appears in a Linear B inscription as da-pu-ri-to. As early as 1892 Maximilian Mayer suggested that labyrinthos might derive from labrys, a Lydian word for "double-bladed axe".
Evans suggested that the palace at Knossos was the original labyrinth, since the double axe motif appears in the palace ruins, he asserted that labyrinth could be understood to mean "the house of the double axe". This designation may not have been limited to Knossos, since the same symbols were discovered in other palaces in Crete; however Nilsson observes that in Crete the "double axe" is not a weapon and always accompanies goddesses or women and not a male god. Beekes finds the relation with labrys speculative, suggests instead the relation with lavra, narrow street; the original Minoan word appears to refer to labyrinthine grottoes, such as seen at Gortyn. Pliny the Elder's four examples of labyrinths are all complex underground structures, this appears to have been the standard Classical understanding of the word, it is possible that the word labyrinth is derived from the Egyptian loperohunt, meaning palace or temple by the lake. The Egyptian labyrinth near Lake Moeris is described by Strabo.
By the 4th century BC, Greek vase painters represented the Labyrinth by the familiar "Greek key" patterns of endlessly running meanders. When the Bronze Age site at Knossos was excavated by explorer Arthur Evans, the complexity of the architecture prompted him to suggest that the palace had been the Labyrinth of Daedalus. Evans found various bull motifs, including an image of a man leaping over the horns of a bull, as well as depictions of a labrys carved into the walls. On the strength of a passage in the Iliad, it has been suggested that the palace was the site of a dancing-ground made for Ariadne by the craftsman Daedalus, where young men and women, of the age of those sent to Crete as prey for the Minotaur, would dance together. By extension, in popular legend the palace is associated with the myth of the Minotaur. In the 2000s, archaeologists explored other potential sites of the labyrinth. Oxford University geographer Nicholas Howarth believes that'Evans's hypothesis that the palace of Knossos is the Labyrinth must be treated sceptically.'
Howarth and his team conducted a search of an underground complex known as the Skotino cave but concluded that it was formed naturally. Another contender is a series of tunnels at Gortyn, accessed by a narrow crack but expanding into interlinking caverns. Unlike the Skotino cave, these caverns have smooth walls and columns, appear to have been at least man-made; this site corresponds to an unusual labyrinth symbol on a 16th-century map of Crete contained in a book of maps in the library of Christ Church, Oxford. A map of the caves themselves was produced by the French in 1821; the site was used by German soldiers to store ammunition during the Second World War. Howarth's investigation was shown on a documentary produced for the National Geographic Channel. More labyrinth might be applied to any complicated maze-like structure. Herodotus, in Book II of his Histories, describes as a "labyrinth" a building complex in Egypt, "near the place called the City of Crocodiles," that he considered to surpass the pyramids: It has twelve covered courts — six in a row facing north, six south — the gates of the one range fronting the gates of the other.
Inside, the building is of two storeys and contains three thousand rooms, of which half are underground, the other half directly above them. I was taken through the rooms in
Iraq the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Assyrians, Shabakis, Armenians, Mandeans and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan and Mandeanism present; the official languages of Iraq are Kurdish. Iraq has a coastline measuring 58 km on the northern Persian Gulf and encompasses the Mesopotamian Alluvial Plain, the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run south through Iraq and into the Shatt al-Arab near the Persian Gulf; these rivers provide Iraq with significant amounts of fertile land. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers known as Mesopotamia, is referred to as the cradle of civilisation.
It was here that mankind first began to read, create laws and live in cities under an organised government—notably Uruk, from which "Iraq" is derived. The area has been home to successive civilisations since the 6th millennium BC. Iraq was the centre of the Akkadian, Sumerian and Babylonian empires, it was part of the Median, Hellenistic, Sassanid, Rashidun, Abbasid, Mongol, Safavid and Ottoman empires. The country today known as Iraq was a region of the Ottoman Empire until the partition of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th century, it was made up of three provinces, called vilayets in the Ottoman language: Mosul Vilayet, Baghdad Vilayet, Basra Vilayet. In April 1920 the British Mandate of Mesopotamia was created under the authority of the League of Nations. A British-backed monarchy joining these vilayets into one Kingdom was established in 1921 under Faisal I of Iraq; the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from the UK in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Iraqi Republic created.
Iraq was controlled by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party from 1968 until 2003. After an invasion by the United States and its allies in 2003, Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was removed from power, multi-party parliamentary elections were held in 2005; the US presence in Iraq ended in 2011, but the Iraqi insurgency continued and intensified as fighters from the Syrian Civil War spilled into the country. Out of the insurgency came a destructive group calling itself ISIL, which took large parts of the north and west, it has since been defeated. Disputes over the sovereignty of Iraqi Kurdistan continue. A referendum about the full sovereignty of Iraqi Kurdistan was held on 25 September 2017. On 9 December 2017, then-Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIL after the group lost its territory in Iraq. Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of one autonomous region; the country's official religion is Islam. Culturally, Iraq has a rich heritage and celebrates the achievements of its past in both pre-Islamic as well as post-Islamic times and is known for its poets.
Its painters and sculptors are among the best in the Arab world, some of them being world-class as well as producing fine handicrafts, including rugs and carpets. Iraq is a founding member of the UN as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF; the Arabic name العراق al-ʿIrāq has been in use since before the 6th century. There are several suggested origins for the name. One dates to the Sumerian city of Uruk and is thus of Sumerian origin, as Uruk was the Akkadian name for the Sumerian city of Urug, containing the Sumerian word for "city", UR. An Arabic folk etymology for the name is "well-watered. During the medieval period, there was a region called ʿIrāq ʿArabī for Lower Mesopotamia and ʿIrāq ʿAjamī, for the region now situated in Central and Western Iran; the term included the plain south of the Hamrin Mountains and did not include the northernmost and westernmost parts of the modern territory of Iraq. Prior to the middle of the 19th century, the term Eyraca Arabic was used to describe Iraq.
The term Sawad was used in early Islamic times for the region of the alluvial plain of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, contrasting it with the arid Arabian desert. As an Arabic word, عراق means "hem", "shore", "bank", or "edge", so that the name by folk etymology came to be interpreted as "the escarpment", viz. at the south and east of the Jazira Plateau, which forms the northern and western edge of the "al-Iraq arabi" area. The Arabic pronunciation is. In English, it is either or, the American Heritage Dictionary, the Random House Dictionary; the pronunciation is heard in US media. In accordance with the 2005 Constitution, the official name of the state is the "Republic of Iraq". Between 65,000 BC and 35,000 BC northern Iraq was home to a Neanderthal culture, archaeological remains of which have been discovered at Shanidar Cave This same region is the location of a number of pre-Neolithic cemeteries, dating from 11,000 BC. Since 10,000 BC, Iraq was one of centres of a Caucasoid Neolithic culture (k