Revitalization Project of Erbil Citadel

© UNESCO Iraq / The 8000 year-old Erbill Citadel

© UNESCO Iraq / The 8000 year-old Erbill Citadel

UNESCO is taking part in the rehabilitation of the ancient Erbil citadel, located in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Citadel of Erbil is a rich historical repository holding evidence of many millennia of habitation; more than 8000 years old, it is the longest continuously inhabited site in the world. This longevity was made possible by the existence of abundant ground water, which has sustained the population throughout its long history. The Citadel rises 28-32 m above the surrounding city and overlooks the wheat fields which extend all the way to the Greater Zab River thirty kilometres to the west. The mound has been formed by successive layers of settlements: Assyrian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Persian and Greek.

Based on the results of UNESCO expert missions, the Organization has developed a project proposal which is a very important preparatory component of a broader project, the Conservation Master Plan and Nomination file to subscribe the Erbil Citadel at the World Heritage List (WHL).

A memorandum of understanding was signed between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and UNESCO on 2nd September 2007 to proceed with the first phase of the rehabilitation and restoration project of Erbil Citadel.

A training course was organized by UNESCO Iraq Office in coordination with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). Seven specialized engineers from Kurdistan participated in the training, which was conducted in Kadir Has University in Istanbul–Turkey from 18 October to 3 November 2007 and covered the following topics:

  • Introduction to Conservation of Architectural Heritage in Iraq: International Principles of Protection & their Application in a National Context.
  • Introduction to Investigation & Conservation of Structural Failures in Historic Buildings.
  • Introduction to Maintenance Management Systems, Supervision, & Monitoring of Preservation Project.
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