Cities in Iraq: Mosul

Cities in Iraq: Mosul Last updated on Tuesday 20th April 2010

Mosul is Iraq's third largest city and is situated 396km north of Baghdad. The city was an important trade centre in the Abbasid era, because of its strategic position on the caravan route between India, Persia and the Mediterranean.

Mosul's chief export was cotton, and today's word muslin is derived from the name of the city.

In the 13th century, Mosul was almost completely destroyed by the Mongol invasion, but rebuilding and revival began under Ottoman rule.

Mosul was once a walled city, and the remains of part of the city wall are still in existence at ::I castle, on the western bank of the Tigris.

An ethnically diverse city, Mosul has the highest proportion of Christians of all the Iraqi cities, and contains several interesting old churches, including the Clock and Latin Church, which contains some fine marble and stained glass. The Chaldean Catholic Church of Al-Tahira was built as a monastery in AD300 and became a church in 1600, when various additions were built.

The Mosul Museum contains many interesting finds from the ancient sites of Nineveh and Nimrud. The Mosul House is a beautiful, old-style building, constructed around a central courtyard and with an impressive facade of Mosul marble. It contains displays of Mosul life depicted in tableau form.

An interesting mosque in the city is the Mosque of Nebi Yunus, said to be the burial place of the Biblical Jonah. It is built on a mound beneath which are thought to be part of the ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh. Any attempt to verify this is impossible, however, as the site is sacred and cannot be disturbed.

The Great Nuriddine Mosque, built in 1172, has a famously crooked minaret standing 52 metres high. It is built of very elaborate brickwork and is named after its builder, Nuriddin Zanqi.

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