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Trip Planner Middle East  /  Iraq  /  Kirkuk Province  /  Kirkuk
Kirkuk, Azerbaijani: Kərkük) is a city in the north of Iraq, 236km north of Baghdad and 83km south of Erbil. It is the capital of Kirkuk Governorate. Kurds are a majority in the Kirkuk center.Kirkuk lies in a wide zone with an enormously diverse population and has been multilingual for centuries. There were dramatic demographic changes during Kirkuk's urbanization in the twentieth century, which saw the development of distinct ethnic groups. Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs lay conflicting claims to this zone, and all have their historical accounts and memories to buttress their claims.The city sits on the ruins of the original Kirkuk Citadel, site of the ancient mid 3rd millennium BC, city of Arrapha, populated and named by the Gutian people and which sits near the Khasa River. The city is mentioned during the Sumero-Akkadian period of Babylonia in cuneiform script from about 2400 BC. The city later came to be dominated by the Hurrians before being incorporated into the Old Assyrian Empire from the 20th to 18th centuries BC, but by the late 15th century BC was under the domination of the short lived Mittani-Hurrian empire. The Middle Assyrian Empire (1365-1020 BC) overthrew the Hurri-Mitanni in the mid 14th century BC and Arrapha became incorporated into Assyria proper. In the 11th and 10th centuries BC the city rose to prominence, becoming an important city in Assyria until the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC). The city briefly came to be part of the short lived Median Empire before falling to the Achaemenid Empire (546-332 BC) where it was incorporated into the province of Athura (Achaemenid Assyria). Later it became part of the Macedonian Empire (332-312 BC) and succeeding Seleucid Empire (311-150 BC) before falling to the Parthian Empire (150 BC-224 AD) as a part of Athura. The Parthians seemed to only exercise loose control, and a number of small Neo-Assyrian kingdoms sprang up in the region between the 2nd century BC and 4th century AD, one such kingdom named "ܒܝܬܓܪܡܝ", (that is Bit Garmai in Syriac) had Arrapha as its capital. Christianity also arose during this period, with Arrapha and its surrounds being influenced by the Assyrian Church of the East. The Sassanid Empire destroyed these kingdoms during 3rd and early 4th centuries AD, and Arrapha was incorporated into Sassanid ruled Assuristan (Sassanid Assyria). In AD 341, the Zoroastrian Shapur II ordered the massacre of all Assyrian Christians in the Persian Sassanid Empire. During the persecution, about 1,150 were martyred in Arrapha. The city remained a part of the Sassanid Empire until the Islamic conquest in the mid 7th century AD.
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