Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day 77, al-Hadr, (Hatra) Iraq(4)

Where to now Milad? Hatra! Oh, wow, that is another ruined ancient city!

This one is in the Ninawa Governorate and al-Jazira region of Iraq.
It is today called al-Hadr, and it stands in the ancient Persian province of Khvarvaran.
The city lies 290 km (180 miles) northwest of Baghdad and 110 km (68 miles) southwest of Mosul.

En route Milad was kind enough to tell us a little about Hatra...

Hatra was founded as an Assyrian city by the Seleucid Empire some time in the 3rd century BCE. A religious and trading centre of the Parthian empire, it flourished during the 1st and 2nd centuries BCE.

Later on, the city became the capital of possibly the first Arab Kingdom in the chain of Arab cities running from Hatra, in the northeast, via Palmyra, Baalbek and Petra, in the southwest.

The region controlled from Hatra was the Kingdom of Araba, a semi-autonomous buffer kingdom on the western limits of the Parthian Empire, governed by Arabian princes.

Hatra became an important fortified frontier city and withstood repeated attacks by the Roman Empire, and played an important role in the Second Parthian War. It repulsed the sieges of both Trajan (116/117) and Septimius Severus (198/199).

Hatra defeated the Persians at the battle of Shahrazoor in 238, but fell to the Sassanid Empire of Shapur I in 241 and was destroyed.

Hatra is the best preserved and most informative example of a Parthian city. It is encircled by inner and outer walls nearly 4 miles (6.4 km) in circumference and supported by more than 160 towers. A temenos surrounds the principal sacred buildings in the city's centre.

And there is the Great Temple....

The temples on this site cover some 1.2 hectares and are dominated by the Great Temple.
This enormous structure with vaults and columns once rose to 30 metres!!

The city was famed for its fusion of Greek, Mesopotamian, Syrian and Arabian pantheons, known in Aramaic as Bei- Elaha ("House of God").

The city had temples to Nergal (Babylonian and Akkadian), Hermes (Greek), Atargatis (Syro-Aramaean), Allat and Shamiyyah (Arabian) and Shamash (the Mesopotamian sun god).

Milad pointed out the Al Hadr Hotel, located within a kilometer of the Hatra ruins to us. It was the Division HQ for the 101st ABN during the beginning of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Hatra is one of the ten Legendary Lost Cities of Tayyab and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

WOW! We are absolutely in awe of these amazing monuments. Shukran Milad:-)
We hope that peace will return to your country soon.
Take care.......