• Keywords: Iraq Cultural Landscape, Amedy, Amadiya, Mateen , Gara, magi priest, ancient persia, Zebar Gate, Saqava Gate, Mosul Gate, Zorsorent temple, Parthian engravinga, Minaret, Bahdinan Principality's flag.

1. OFFICIAL CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES

1.1 National and International Classification Lists

Amedy city is registered on the Tentative List of UNESCO, with date of submission: 02/02/2011, criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(vii)(viii), category: mixed and ref.: 5601.

  • Tentative List of UNESCO

1.2. Cultural Landscape Category/Tipology

Organically evolved landscapes
Relict (or fossil) landscape
Associative cultural landscape
1

1.3. Description and Justification by Med-O-Med

Description

Amedi-Amadiya is a city founded on a small crater two thousand years BC. Located in the north-east of Kurdistan region of Iraq, 70km north of the city of Duhok is one of the oldest cities in the world and one of the most important historic cities in North Iraq it has extended history since being (for a period of time) the capital of the Median empire, a forgotten part of the city’s history. It then became the capital of the Amadi-Bhdinan-Badinan emirate that is full of Zardasht and Islamic ruins. The site is proposed in category: mixed, in the Tentative List of UNESCO, but Med-O-Med has considered appropiate to give another step considering this site as a Cultural Landscape taking into account its natural and cultural heritage, as an associative landscape, mainly because of the historial and religious significance linked to the landscape (Mateen and Gara Mountains) and the archaeological/architectonical values associated to the city (UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Article 1, 1972, Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, 2008): -Its Natural heritage components: Amedy or Amadiya is inseparable from its environmental context: Mateen and Gara Mountains, a beatiful rural environment plenty of crop fields in terraces, olive groves and gardens that modifies the landcape in function of human-being interest. The city is located on an elliptical hill top plateau that is not more that 1km2 and reaches 450m above the level of the surrounding areas. The distinctive and impressive shape and location of the city together woth the two mountains (Mateen and Gara) that surround it has made its landscape exceptional natural beauty. Also, Amedy City has very spectacular geological properties. It is located on a contiguous limestone bed of elliptical periphery that forms sharp cliffs on top of the Amedy high hill. The limestone bed belongs to the Pilaspi lismestone formation of Eocene age. The Pilapsi Formation was deposited in lagoonal marine environment 45 million years ago. -Its Cultural heritage components: This site is chosen as a Cultural Landscape because of its intangible values, its historical, social and religious significance. The region in which the city rests is also believed to have been the home of the Magi or priests of Ancient Persia. Amedy is believed to be the home of some of the most significant Magi priests, the Biblical Magi or the “Three Wise Men”, who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to see Jesus Christ shortly after his birth. There are also very important the archaeological and architectnoical values linked to the city. What makes Amedy a unique city, is its location on a top of a hill plateau with its elliptical shape. It is evident that this city was not founded accidentally. In addition, the city has an outstanding urban structure and elements illustrated in its gates, walls and temple. Therefore the Amedy can be considered as a masterpiece of human creative genius that reflects human thinking in a certain historic period using natural landscape as a fortification tool. Amedy City has two ancient gates dating to the period of Amedy castle, the eastern Zebar Gate and the western Mosul or Saqava Gate which is directed toward Mosul city. The City has also some other important historical remains, e.g. Zorsorent temple, Parthian engraving, the Minaret, and Bahdinan Principality’s flag, ruins from the Assyrian era, and ruins of a synagogue and a church.

2. NAME / LOCATION / ACCESSIBILITY

  • Current denomination Amedy, Amadiya.
  • Current denomination Amedy, Amadiya.
  • Original denomination Amedy, Amadiya, Amat, Amati, Afahi Maydiya, Ashab and Amidi.
  • Popular denomination Amadiya, Amediyah, Amadia, Amedi, al-Amadiyah.
  • Address: Amedy city is in Amediy District, Kurdistan Region. It lies around 460 kilometers north of Baghdad along the Iraqi-Turkish border and rises above a rocky area, about 1,000 feet above the ground below it. It is surrounded by five villages, Kani Masi, Barmani, Sarsanac, Dirluk, and Jamanki.
  • Geographical coordinates: 37°05′33″N 43°29′14″E
  • Area, boundaries and surroundings: Amadiya, is a small Assyrian and Kurdish town along a tributary to the Great Zab in the Dahuk Governorate of Iraqi Kurdistan The city is situated 4,600 feet (1,400 m) above sea level. It is 1,100 yards (1,000 m) long and 550 yards (500 m) wide.
  • Access and transport facilities: The town is perched on a mountain, formerly only accessible by a narrow stairway cut into the rock.
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AMEDY CITY AND ITS CULTURAL LANDSCAPE (IRAK)

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AMEDY CITY AND ITS CULTURAL LANDSCAPE (IRAK) 37.092500, 43.487222 AMEDY CITY AND ITS CULTURAL LANDSCAPE (IRAK) (Directions)

3. LEGAL ISSUES

Property regime
  • Public
  • Owner: Iraq Government.
  • Body responsible for the maintenance: Dahuk Governorate.
  • Public or private organizations working in the site: The Director of the Tourism in Amadiya, Iyaz Abdullah, indicated that there are plans to revive tourism in the region. “Large-scale, modern tourism projects will be implemented in the next few months by the private sector,” he said, “in addition to an expansion and development of two older tourism projects, which were inhabited by homeless families that were compensated for vacating them.” “The Kurdish Regional Government has laid down plans to develop the region, most important of which is expanding the borders of the Amadiya municipality,” said Ismail Mohammed, the Governor of Amadiya District. “About one thousand dunums (2,500 square kilometers) of land southeast of the city have been set aside for this purpose.” “Dohuk University will launch a project to survey the city. The project will be supervised by Dortmund University, in Germany, and the goal will be to make it an archaeological city,” the Amadiya Governor added. “There are attempts by official agencies in the government of the region to take possession of the historical and ancient buildings in the center of the city and turn it into a museum and tourist area.”

4. HISTORY

The history of this city goes back to 3000 years B.C. to the time of ancient Assyria, since it has always been a strategic place as it is built on the flat top of a mountain. For several centuries, after the expulsion of the caliphs from Baghdad, it was ruled by a pasha, a prince who was from the royal Abbas family, reputed to be one of the richest rulers in the region. Amedi was the seat of the semi-autonomous Badinan Emirate, which lasted from 1376 to 1843. Amadiya was called Afahi Maydiya, that is, the capital for Maydiniyans, in the year 330 B.C, in the era of King Mibdakh. Some historical sources indicate that in the Islamic era the city was called Amadiya, after the name of Emad Al-Din Al-Zanki, who rebuilt it in the year 537 A.H, according to Yaqut Al-Hamawi. In the year 740 A.H, the city was brought under the rule of the Kurdish sultans, and it became the capital of the Kurdish Bahdinani Emirate until the year 1842, after which it was brought under Ottoman rule. With the founding of the Iraqi state, Amadiya became a district, part of the state of Mosul in 1924. The city’s significant geographical location had been troubled zones between the disputed forces of Medes, Persians and Assyrians since old history. Its placement on a hilltop had led the city to be ambitious for many forces throughout the history. The Medes were the first to concentrate on the city who adapted it as a capital for their Kingdom, then followed by Assyrian occupation in 855-824 B.C., and later the city was occupied by Parthian and Muslims.

  • Oldest initial date /building and inauguration date: 3000 B.C.

5. GENERAL DESCRIPTION

5.1. Natural heritage

  • Heritage: Rural
  • Geography: High Mountain
  • Site topography: Natural
  • Climate and environmental conditions: Snow is not something easy to find in Iraq but Kurdish Iraq is a mountainous region and gets bitterly cold in winter. This small village is a couple of hours north of the city of Dohuk and the mountains beyond run along the Iraq-Turkey border.
  • Geological and Geographical characteristics: Amedy City has very spectacular geological properties. It is located on a contiguous limestone bed of elliptical periphery that forms sharp cliffs on top of the Amedy high hill. The limestone bed belongs to the Pilaspi lismestone formation of Eocene age, The city war originally part of Mateen Mountain that was separated and settled far away as a result of geological processes which formed an elliptical rocky hill. Amedy is located on a contiguous limestone bed of elliptical periphery that forms sharp cliffs on top of the Amedy high hill. The limestone bed belongs to the Pilaspi limestone formation of Eocene age. The Pilapsi Formation was deposited in lagoonal marine environment 45 million years ago The limestone in Amedy is laid on of younger rocks of the Upper Fars Formation. This formation consists of sand stones siltstones and mudstones which were deposited in the Upper Miocene age around 15 million years ago. The deposition of the Upper Fars Formation occurred in continental fluviatile environments.
The city is fed by a geothermal spring originating far below the mountain.
Land uses and economical activities:
In the past few years, there have been notable tourism activities in Amadiya, as scores of outdoor restaurants and tourism facilities have been built.
Agricultural issues or other traditional productions and their effect on the landscape:
There are terraces in the hillsides of the mountains with cropfields.
Summary of Landscapes values and characteristics:

The ancient city of Amadiya dates back at least to the Assyrian era. Located on a high promontory above a breathtaking landscape, it was once an almost impenetrable fortress. The city Gate (Bab Zebar) located in the eastern side of the city was built in 500-600 AD. Pass by a 3rd century synagogue in this once important Jewish city. It is truly one of the most fascinating cities the world. The natural environment (Mateen and Gara Mountains) of the city makes the site a spectacular place in Iraq.

5.2. Cultural Heritage

A) Related to current constructions, buildings and art pieces in general

Architectonical elements /Sculptures:

This city has a great architectonical peculiarity totally adapted to the elliptical top of the mountain where is located. Some houses are almost hanging as balconies. In addition, the city has an outstanding urban structure and elements illustrated in its gates, walls and temple. Therefore the Amedy can be considered as a masterpiece of human creative genius that reflects human thinking in a certain historic period using natural landscape as a fortification tool. Amedy City has two ancient gates dating to the period of Amedy castle, the eastern Zebar Gate and the western Mosul or Saqava Gate which is directed toward Mosul city. The City has also some other important historical remains, e.g. Zorsorent temple, Parthian engraving, the Minaret, and Bahdinan Principality’s flag, ruins from the Assyrian era, and ruins of a synagogue and a church.

In the case of gardens: original and current style:
It is not the case. agement
B) Related to ancient remains

  • Archaeological components:

    The long history of Amedy city, like other cities in Mesopotamia with different civilizations has left behind huge and valuable antiquities. Amedy City has two ancient gates dating to the period of Amedy castle, the eastern Zebar Gate and the western Mosul or Saqava Gate which is directed toward Mosul city. The City has also some other important historical remains, e.g. Zorsorent temple, Parthian engraving, the Minaret, and Bahdinan Principality’s flag. The sites in Amadiya go back to different periods of history, though the most important of them is from the Parthian era, in the year 148 A.C.” researcher Mohammed Abdullah Amedy added. “There are other archaeological sites, including buildings from the Bahdinani Emirate, the Qubhan School and the minaret from the Amadiya Mosque. Some of these sites, though, are in need of protection and care.

  • Traces in the environment of human activity: Archaeological remains. Agricultural traces.
C) Related to intangible, social and spiritual values

  • Population, ethnic groups: At the turn of the 19th century, the population already numbered 6,000, of whom 2,500 were Kurds, 1,900 Jews and 1,600 Assyrians. Amadiya was the birthplace of the pseudo-Messiah, David Alroy (fl. 1160). In 1163, according to Joseph ha-Kohen's "'Emeḳ ha-Baka", the Jewish population numbered about a thousand families and traded in gall-nuts. Alroy led a revolt against the city but was apparently defeated and killed in the process. The Spanish Jewish historian R. Schlomo Ibn Verga (1450–1525) portrayed the Jewish community of Amedia at the time of Alroy as wealthy and contented.
  • Lifestyle, believing, cults, traditional rites: The historical stages that Amedy has went through indicate that it has had a remarkable political, administrative, commercial and cultural role and influence on the neighboring areas in different consecutive periods (especially between the 14th and 18th century). This influence became a rich subject for many writers, travelers, and researchers. The minaret of Amedy and its associated archaeological remains are evidence for this.

5.3. Quality

Condition: environmental/ cultural heritage degradation:
Some of the monuments and archaeological remains of the city must be protected in order to keep their quality.
Quality of the night sky, light pollution and possibility to observe the stars:
Amadiya was also a center of Chaldean astrology and astronomy and local tradition holds that the Magi of Christmas fame began their journey from here.
Perspectives/Views/ Points of interest/Setting:

Amadiya has a spectacular and strategic view of the plateau and the mountains of the North of the country. It was a great defensive point.

6. VALUES

Tangible

  • Aesthetic
  • Archaeological
The main tangible values of Amedy city and its Cultural Landscape are: -Aesthetic: The distinctive and impressive shape and location of the city together woth the two mountains (Mateen and Gara) that surround it has made its landscape exceptional natural beauty. -Archaeological/ Architectonical: The city has an outstanding urban structure and elements illustrated in its gates, walls and temple. Therefore the Amedy can be considered as a masterpiece of human creative genius that reflects human thinking in a certain historic period using natural landscape as a fortification tool. Amedy City has two ancient gates dating to the period of Amedy castle, the eastern Zebar Gate and the western Mosul or Saqava Gate which is directed toward Mosul city. The City has also some other important historical remains, e.g. Zorsorent temple, Parthian engraving, the Minaret, and Bahdinan Principality's flag, ruins from the Assyrian era, and ruins of a synagogue and a church. The long history of Amedy city, like other cities in Mesopotamia with different civilizations has left behind huge and valuable antiquities. -Geological: Amedy City has very spectacular geological properties. It is located on a contiguous limestone bed of elliptical periphery that forms sharp cliffs on top of the Amedy high hill. The limestone bed belongs to the Pilaspi lismestone formation of Eocene age. The limestone bed belongs to the Pilaspi limestone formation of Eocene age. The Pilapsi Formation was deposited in lagoonal marine environment 45 million years ago The limestone in Amedy is laid on of younger rocks of the Upper Fars Formation. This formation consists of sand stones siltstones and mudstones which were deposited in the Upper Miocene age around 15 million years ago.

Intangible

  • Historical
  • Mythical
  • Religious
The main intangible values of Amedy city and its Cultural Landscape are: -Historical/ Social significance: The historical stages that Amedy has went through indicate that it has had a remarkable political, administrative, commercial and cultural role and influence on the neighboring areas in different consecutive periods (especially between the 14th and 18th century). This influence became a rich subject for many writers, travelers, and researchers. The minaret of Amedy and its associated archaeological remains are evidence for this. -Mythical/Religious: The region in which the city rests is also believed to have been the home of the Magi or priests of Ancient Persia. Amedia is believed to be the home of some of the most significant Magi priests, the Biblical Magi or the "Three Wise Men", who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to see Jesus Christ shortly after his birth.
Authenticity:
The authentic features that the site are still kept (Mosel Gate, Minaret and the elliptical city site) have not been disturbed. The elliptical shape which is a part of the exceptional natural landscape beauty serves the site as area physical protection for the city. *Comparison with other similar properties: There are four other inscribed World Heritage Sites in the world (UNESCO) which partly have similar attributes: Minaret and Archaeological remains of Jam - Afghanistan Samara Archaeological city - Iraq Purnulu National Park - Australia Uluru-Kuta Tjuta National Park - Australia
Universality:
Med-O-Med subcribes the criteria defined in the Tentative List of UNESCO: i) As known historically, the urban human settlements ever existed were those in the anvient Mesopotamia, Egypt and Indus Valley, when the societies had elaborated religious, political and military hierarchies. The development of cities varied throughout successive civilization periods. However, there are a number of features of urban structure that were shered by the cities throughout different periods. Researchers have linked the historical origins of cities to the defense functions. They asserted that the first city indicated in history was a military-based city. The fortification of a city involved the selection of the city site where there were fortress surrounded by walls and trenches, established towers, pillars and gates, and entrances designed in such a way that enhanced the city's hardness, defensive and offensive capability of standing against external raids. Cities took the form of circles and ovals. The agricultural lands were usually located outside cities. Elevated locations with difficult access were usually selected for the construction of citadels. The functions of many of these citadels were expanded politically and economically to become large cities. By comparing these uniaue historical criteria with the evolution of Amedy City, it is evident that this city was not founded accidentally but there were some other factors that contributed to its establishment. What makes Amedy a unique city, is its location on a top of a hill plateau with its elliptical shape covering an area less than 1km2. In addition, the city has an outstanding urban structure and elements illustrated in its gates, walls and temple. Therefore the Amedy can be considered as a masterpiece of human creative genius that reflects human thinking in a certain historic period using natural landscape as a fortification tool. ii) Mosul gate is named after Mosul city because it is located towards it and leads to it, as the majority of comers to Amedy city were from Mosul. Therefore, it was crucial to take care of this gate, and some sculptures were engraved in order to create fear to the passersby, forcing them to realize the power of the city's rulers and sanctity. This style corresponds to the designs used by Mesopotamia's inhabitants, when they built the gates of their cities particularly in the Assyrian period. The gate has other historic features, for example the symbol of the God of Sun and the sculpture of the star. The use of this figure was known during the Assyrian period. The symbols (God of Sun and the star) are surrounded by two snakes with fabulous animal heads, similar to a wolf with large ears and open jaws, fighting against warriors wearing brocaded clothes which represent the Parthian warriors uniform. The innovative architectural design of Mosul gate, as well as the pictures and symbols that exist on itm are representing ancient beliefs and expressions. For these entities and other that the city has, Amedy City may well meet of the UNESCO requirements to become a world heritage site. iii) The historical stages that Amedy has went through indicate that it has had a remarkable political, administrative, commercial and cultural role and influence on the neighboring areas in different consecutive periods (especially between the 14th and 18th century). This influence became a rich subject for many writers, travelers, and researchers. The minaret of Amedy and its associated archaeological remains are evidence for this. vii) Amedy City is located on an elliptical hill top plateau that is not more that 1km2 and reaches 450m above the level of the surrounding areas. The distinctive and impressive shape and location of the city together woth the two mountains (Mateen and Gara) that surround it has made its landscape exceptional natural beauty. Therefore, these features ensure that this criterion is fulfilled. viii) Amedy City has very spectacular geological properties. It is located on a contiguous limestone bed of elliptical periphery that forms sharp cliffs on top of the Amedy high hill. The limestone bed belongs to the Pilaspi lismestone formation of Eocene age, The city war originally part of Mateen Mountain that was separated and settled far away as a result of geological processes which formed an elliptical rocky hill. Amedy is located on a contiguous limestone bed of elliptical periphery that forms sharp cliffs on top of the Amedy high hill. The limestone bed belongs to the Pilaspi limestone formation of Eocene age. The Pilapsi Formation was deposited in lagoonal marine environment 45 million years ago The limestone in Amedy is laid on of younger rocks of the Upper Fars Formation. This formation consists of sand stones siltstones and mudstones which were deposited in the Upper Miocene age around 15 million years ago. The deposition of the Upper Fars Formation occurred in continental fluviatile environments.
Values linked to the Islamic culture and civilisation:
Most of the mouments and archaeological remains found in the city are linked to the islamic culture. The religious meaning of the landscape is also related to the islamic culture.

7. ENCLOSURES

Historical and graphical data (drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, literary items…):

*** “Amedy city and its Cultural Landscape” is one of all of the cultural landscapes of Iraq which are included in The Cultural Landscape inventory runned by Med-O-Med.

Bibliography:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5601/ http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/t5601.html http://unami.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?ctl=Details&tabid=2792&mid=5079&ItemID=1266414 http://www.theotheriraqtours.com/place/amadiya http://mawtani.al-shorfa.com/en_GB/articles/iii/features/2008/07/22/feature-02 -April, F. (1968). Iraq: The Land. -Bailey, B.J. (2003). Who are the Christians in the Middle East? Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. -Lenowitz, H. (1906). The Jewish Messiahs: From the Galilee to Crown Heights. Retrieved 2009-09-12. -Pasha, T. (2012). Amedi-Amadiya, History and Archaeology (Arabic Edition). -Wright, G. (1834). A New and Comprehensive gazetteer, Volume 1. T. Kelly. Retrieved 2009-09-12. -UNESCO. (2001). Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. World Heritage Committee. 25 session. Helsinki, Finland. -UNESCO. (2002). Cultural Landscapes: the Challenges of Conservation. Associated Workshops, World Heritage. Ferrara , Italy.

Compiler Data: Sara Martínez Frías.