Iraq - The cradle of civilization at risk (H-Museum's Current Focus)
Today H-Museum, a part of the H-Net Network at Michigan State University,
presents its new current focus:
Iraq - The cradle of civilization at risk. Cultural heritage and historical monuments.
The current focus contains:
Introduction, Iraq News Digests, Selected Articles and Documents, Journals
and Magazines, Museums/Collections/Institutions, Online-Resources
The current focus looks from a cultural and historical perspective at
present developments concerning the military conflict in Iraq. Included are
also special editions of the News Digest, which contains articles from the
time of the first Gulf War to the present dealing with the historical
monuments, archaeological sites, and museums in Iraq.
Iraq is a country with a rich history. A great number of monuments of the
history of civilization, archaeological sites, and museums are situated on
the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and in other areas. Already in 1990/91,
during the first Gulf War, these historical monuments and other places of
historical importance were put at direct risk by military action as well as
by the abuse as Iraqi military positions. The war in Iraq in 2003 again
exposes these historical monuments and other places of historical interest
to great danger. War always carries with it not only suffering and misery
for the population but also always hurts the cultural and historical
Present-day Iraq occupies the greater part of the ancient land of
Mesopotamia, the plain between Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Some of the
world's greatest ancient civilizations were developed in this area.
Therefore the region is often referred to as the cradle of mankind.
Present-day Iraq possesses a huge amount of historical monuments and
archaeological sites, e. g. Niniveh, the seat of government of the 7th
century BC king Assurbarnipal; Ur, where the Sumerian civilization had its
final flowering at the close of the 3rd millennium BC and where
according to the Bible Abraham was born; Uruk, the scene of the Gilgamesh Epic; the
Parthian desert city of Hatra, which is on the UNESCO's list of cultural
world heritage; Assur, the first capital of the Assyrian kingdom with the
famous Ishtar temple; and Babylon, in the 18th century BC the seat of king
Hammurabi, who is primarily remembered for his codification of the laws
governing Babylonian life.
Experts guess that there are about 100,000 sites of cultural and historical
importance in Iraq, most of them not yet excavated; about 10,000 are known.
However, the cultural heritage of Iraq is primarily Arabic. One of these
famous Islamic monuments is the 55 meters high spiraling minaret of the
great mosque in Sumarra, built in 850 AD. In addition this land is the home
of the three world religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Ralf Blank M.A.
Dr. Stephanie Marra
H-Net Network for Museum Professionals
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