Zakho city in Duhok governate Kurdistan region Iraq
Erbilia Online Magazine - Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Meet Zakho in Kurdistan

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The Charming Ancient Zahko City in Kurdistan

In the center of Zakho District of Duhok Governate in Kurdistan, lies Zakho City just a few kilometers away from the Iraqi Turkish borders. Many rivers are in and around this charming old city, rivers like the Zeriza, the Seerkotik, and the Little Khabur River. Nature is not the only asset of Zakho, the people, culture and education are the main assets of this unique city where the University of Zakho is located, being one of the twelve universities in Kurdistan. After the battle between the Romans and the Persians near the city in ancient times, Zakho took its name from the Aramaic word “Zakhota” meaning Victory! Others claim that the name Zakho is derived from the Kurdish word “Zey-Khowin” meaning “river of blood”, referring to the same battle.

In ancient times, the Jewish community was highly dominant in Zakho and the Aramaic was the only language spoken at that time. After some troubles in the region, the Jews of Zakho started to immigrate to Palestine around the year 1920 and continues till 1950. Moreover, Assyrian Catholics had strong presence in Zakho starting from the fifth century.

In 1991, Zakho became the centre of the safe haven established by the Americans and the British to protect the Kurds from being attacked and massacred by Saddam Hussein regime, at the time when he brutally responded to the Kurdish rebellion. Most of the inhabitants of Zakho had fled and hid in the mountains. When the American forces arrived, they described the town as a ghost city and have helped the Kurds evacuate safely. 

If you have been to Zakho, you would never forget the Delal Bridge built from larger-than-life stones, as well as the Castle of Zakho that was the house of the governor in the times of the Bandian Emirate. Nowadays, only the tower remains from this castle.