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Rich in Tradition

The old kurdish name for Erbil, Hawler, means a city where the sun was worshipped,
and the Citadel in Erbil has been an important trading post and multicultural melting pot since 2300 BC

 Map of Erbil

Hawler City (Erbil) is the oldest living city in the world, the capital of the Federal Kurdistan Region and about 350 km2 north of Baghdad . It lies on a rich fertile plain between two rivers, the Greater Zab and the Lesser Zab. Already in the 23rd century BC, the location was an important crossroads between East and West. Assyrians, Persians, Ottomans, and Arabs have all ruled he area at some point in time.

The name “Erbil” was mentioned in holy writings of the Sumerians (about 2,000 B.C.) as Orblum or Urbilum and in the Babylonian and Assyrian texts as Arba-Elu. The Kurdish name “Hawler” is found from the ancient time. It refers to the ancient Citadel and Minaret. Throughout the history, Hawler has been the center of culture and trade in the region. 

The old Kurdish name for Erbil, Hawler, means a city where the sun still worshipped, and prosperity shone upon Erbil, perched on the Silk Road between Europe and the Chinese Empire. The sun still occupies a central spot on the Kurdish flag.

The Citadel in Erbil has been occupied for 5,000 years as a fortress and inner city, and has always been an important trading post and multicultural melting pot. It is currently restored with the help of Unesco, and will become an open air museum.

Modern Erbil is the capital of Kurdistan. With more than a million inhabitants, it is the third largest city in Iraq, as well as its fastest growing city. Ankawa, the Christian part of the city, it is now nearing 20,000 inhabitants.

Expanding population
 People move into Kurdistan for job and safety
     - over 212,000 migrants since 2003
 Kurdistan: 5,000,000 as of 2008
 Erbil: 1,300,000 as of 2008


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