Ancient: ninua

City of the ancient Assyrian Empire, and its capital from 705 to 612 BCE. Nineveh was situated on the east bank of the Tigris near modern Mosul. The Khawsar River ran through Nineveh to join the Tigris.

During its relatively short period of being capital, Nineveh was turned into a beautiful city of wide boulevards, large squares, parks, and gardens. At its largest, Nineveh was 700 hectares large, walled with 15 gates. The walls measured 12 km in circumference. Each gate was named after an Assyrian god. Aqueducts and canals lead water from sources in the hills 50 km away.

Most of Nineveh’s period of existence is mainly prehistoric: a 30 metre long shaft dug in 1931-32 from the top to virgin soil proved that only 20% of the debris belonged to the period of recorded history.

6000 BCE: First settlements of Nineveh.
2nd and 3rd millennia: Nineveh is a religious centre devoted to among other gods Ishtar.
9th century: Large architectural projects start in Nineveh with the initiative of rulers of the Assyrian Empire.
705: King Sennacherib establishes Nineveh as the new capital of the Assyrian Empire, at the expense of Dur-Sharrukin. Large scale construction work is started, together with the building of the largest palace of its time, which was 42,000 kmē large with at least 80 rooms.
Around 650: Under king Ashurbanipal, a new palace is constructed, together with a large library.
612: The city is captured and destroyed by the Babylonians, Schytians and Medes. This also marks the end of the Assyrian Empire.
627 CE December: Important battle between the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius and the Persian army, in which the latter is struck with a devastating defeat.
13th century: Nineveh becomes an important city under Atabeg rulers.
16the century: The last settlements of Nineveh are abandoned.
1820: Nineveh is mapped by the British archaeologist Claudius J. Rich.
1845-51: The palace of Sennacherib is discovered.


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