Arab Today, arab today iraq\s christian heritage sites lie neglected
Last Updated : GMT 00:12:40
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

No funds to excavate pre-Islamic relics

Iraq\'s Christian heritage sites lie neglected

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Iraq\'s Christian heritage sites lie neglected

The archaeological site of a pre-Islamic Christian monastery in Iraq's central city of Najaf
Baghdad - Agencies

The archaeological site of a pre-Islamic Christian monastery in Iraq\'s central city of Najaf A stone\'s throw from Iraq\'s Shiite holy city of Najaf\'s airport, the remains of the celebrated ancient Christian city of Hira lie neglected and mouldering, because funds for excavation have dried up.
Three sites, discovered five years ago, are unexplored and unkempt, and officials fear the uncompleted excavation could lead to their eventual demise.
The sites, which contain mud walls and jars that are exposed to the elements, lie fewer than 100m from an active runway, are not fenced off and have no security except their proximity to the restricted airport area.
They form part of the ancient Lakhmid capital of Hira, on the outskirts of Najaf, 150km (95 miles) south of Baghdad.
The Lakhmids were a pre-Islamic Arab tribe that is believed to have emigrated to what is now Iraq from Yemen in the second or third century. The founder of the dynasty was Amr, whose son, Imru al-Qais, converted to Christianity.
In 266, the Lakhmids turned the former military encampment of Hira into their capital.
Establishing their empire across what is now Iraq and northeastern Arabia, they held sway across the lands that lay between the Persians -- to whom they were vassals for several centuries -- and the Romans.
They were a major force among the pre-Islamic Arab peoples, with their culture and learning spread widely and where the early Arabic alphabet was standardised.
Arab poets described Hira as a paradise on earth, with one saying that, because of the city\'s pleasant climate and beauty, a day in Hira was \"better than a year of treatment\".
Hira, which extends around 17km (10 miles) south from Najaf, remained the Lakhmid capital until 663, when Muslim general Khalid bin al-Walid conquered it on the orders of Abu Baqr, the immediate successor of the Prophet Mohammed.
\"The area has historical importance, because it is rich in antiquities, including especially the remains of churches, abbeys and palaces,\" said Shakir Abdulzahra Jabari, who led excavations there in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
\"But now, the antiquities have been neglected for a year, and they do not receive any attention, despite the fact that many Western countries are interested in Hira\'s history as the main gateway of Christianity into Iraq.\"
Hira was famous for its arable land, and for its palaces and monasteries, notably the Aoun al-Abadi Palace, which hosted visiting dignitaries, and the Al-Lij monastery.
The sites feature the historic treasures of the Lakhmid era, such as the bases of massive abbeys that include dozens of rooms, from studying halls to monastic cells and storage areas.
\"Christians have lived for a long period of time in the Hira region, where they formed around one-third of the city\'s population, with the Al-Abad tribe the most well-known of their community,\" said Yahya Kadhim al-Sultani, a professor at Kufa University in Najaf\'s twin city.
\"Hira was characterised by a not insignificant number of churches built for living in, and the practice of various scientific and cultural activities,\" Sultani added.
The ancient city has seen several excavations in decades past, Jabari said.
Oxford University researchers explored the site in the 1930s, and Iraqi antiquities experts carried out their own excavations in 1938, 1956 and 1957.
It was during the latter set of explorations that the Palace of Al-Khawarnaq, built during the reign of fourth and fifth century King Numan I was discovered.
But since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, Baghdad\'s government has had bigger priorities than funding large-scale digs in a country with more than 12,000 documented archaeological sites.
Foreign exploration teams have largely avoided Iraq entirely over security fears, even though levels of violence in the country are significantly lower than their peak in 2006 and 2007.
And those who have come have largely chosen to focus on the autonomous and relatively safe Kurdistan region in the north for excavations.
\"The excavation works resumed in the area in 2007. When expansion work was being done to Najaf airport, the first three sites were discovered,\" said Jabari.
\"We have worked to save it from the (airport) expansion process.\"
Since then, several digs in an area of 3,000 square metres (32,300 square feet) have uncovered the bases of mud-built structures, as well as crosses etched into walls, and a piece of wax marble with the inscription, \"Blessings from God, and God forgave the followers of Christ.\"
In 2009, the Najaf provincial department of antiquities said researchers had unearthed around 2,100 artifacts in different parts of the province, including coins, pieces of pottery and a number of buildings dating back to the Lakhmid dynasty.
\"But exploration work stopped a year ago because of time limits on the project, which ran out of money, and no maintenance work has been done on the sites since,\" Jabari said.
He now fears that further neglect will lead to the antiquities\' destruction.

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today iraq\s christian heritage sites lie neglected Arab Today, arab today iraq\s christian heritage sites lie neglected

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today iraq\s christian heritage sites lie neglected Arab Today, arab today iraq\s christian heritage sites lie neglected

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Youssra depended on colored foam

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today EasyJet, Lufthansa among seven to bid

GMT 06:49 2017 Tuesday ,17 October

EasyJet, Lufthansa among seven to bid
Arab Today, arab today Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts

GMT 17:52 2017 Sunday ,03 September

Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts
Arab Today, arab today Fighters celebrate Raqa victory

GMT 06:07 2017 Wednesday ,18 October

Fighters celebrate Raqa victory
Arab Today, arab today Hiring not part of Alibaba pledge

GMT 11:26 2017 Wednesday ,18 October

Hiring not part of Alibaba pledge
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Sidem reveals plan to improve education

GMT 15:52 2017 Friday ,06 October

Sidem reveals plan to improve education
Arab Today, arab today British actress becomes fifth woman

GMT 18:15 2017 Monday ,16 October

British actress becomes fifth woman
Arab Today, arab today Climate-disrupting volcanoes helped topple

GMT 16:00 2017 Wednesday ,18 October

Climate-disrupting volcanoes helped topple
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Mercedes says recalls 400,000 UK cars

GMT 06:56 2017 Tuesday ,17 October

Mercedes says recalls 400,000 UK cars
Arab Today, arab today Britain's Vauxhall to cut 400 jobs

GMT 10:53 2017 Sunday ,15 October

Britain's Vauxhall to cut 400 jobs
Arab Today, arab today Dalal Abdel Aziz happy for “Seventh Neighbor”

GMT 09:31 2017 Monday ,16 October

Dalal Abdel Aziz happy for “Seventh Neighbor”
Arab Today, arab today Three killed, 360,000 without power

GMT 05:11 2017 Tuesday ,17 October

Three killed, 360,000 without power

GMT 12:33 2017 Friday ,13 October

Anoshka happy for reactions to her talk show

GMT 10:37 2017 Thursday ,12 October

Cara Delevingne accuses Weinstein

GMT 16:53 2017 Saturday ,02 September

Mai importance of gifts during Eid Al-Adha

GMT 18:49 2017 Monday ,16 October

India to close colonial-era military farms

GMT 10:46 2017 Saturday ,05 August

Nanis reveals simple ideas for home renovation

GMT 23:42 2017 Monday ,16 October

Better Marriages Make

GMT 07:02 2017 Sunday ,15 October

German minister sparks uproar

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 03:59 2017 Sunday ,15 October

US mobile carriers Sprint, T-Mobile to merge

GMT 11:37 2017 Saturday ,12 August

Fashion designer reveals her new collection
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday