City in Iraq with about 710,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), near the foot of the Zagros Mountains, about 350 metres above sea level, in the Kurdish region of Iraq, and about 230 km north of Baghdad.
Kirkuk is the largest city in one of Iraq’s most important oil producing areas. Oil pipelines run from Kirkuk to the coastal cities of Tripoli in Lebanon and Yamurtalik in Turkey. The region around Kirkuk has also a rich agricultural output like grains and fruit. Sheep are raised here, and the meat is sold from Kirkuk. In town, textile manufacturing is one of the most important industries.
Kirkuk’s population is a mixture of Kurdish, Assyrian, Turkomen and Arab origin. The majority are Sunni Muslims, but Kirkuk has also a sizeable community of Christians of the Nestorian branch.
Kirkuk is an old city, with ruins as old as 3,000 years. There are several historical monuments, with the citadel situated on a natural mound, as the focal point.
1980’s: Large parts of the Kurdish population are forced to leave, and replaced with Arabs, in order to weaken the Kurdish control on, and future possible claim on, the city.
1991: After that the Kurdish regions of Northern Iraq liberates from the regime of Baghdad, Kirkuk remains under Iraqi control.
2003 April 11: After days of fighting, Kirkuk comes under control of US-led forces and their Iraqi Kurdish allies.