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Alqosh (Syriac: ‎,[3]Judeo-Aramaic?, Arabic: ‎,[1]Kurdish: , Elqu?[4][5]), alternatively spelled Alkosh or Alqush, is an Assyrian[6] town in northern Iraq and is within Nineveh Plains. It is a sub-district of the Tel Kaif District and is 45km north of Mosul. The town is controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Peshmerga.

In 2014 the mayor of Aqlosh, Faiz Jahwareh, was illegally detained and replaced by KDP member Lara Zara, only to be reinstated after protests by Alqosh residents. Mr Jahwareh was again detained and replaced by the KRG in July 2017 on the basis of false corruption charges that were dismissed by the Iraqi Federal Court.[7][8] Basim Bello, mayor of nearby Tel Keppe, was also unlawfully removed by the same parties in August 2017, and reinstated by order of the Governor of Nineveh in August 2018.[9][10]

The village has a small Kurdish minority[11] and Kurdish Jews celebrate Hanukkah in the town.[12][13]

Christianity and Alqosh

An Assyrian Catholic church.

Since its establishment, Alqosh was a place for worship. either for the Sumerian/Assyrian god Seen, who was also worshiped at Ur as the Sumerian equivalent Nanna, or for the god El-Qustu.

Alqosh became an important town for the Church of the East Christianity after the Assyrian monk Hirmiz carved out a monastery of the mountains of Alqosh. This abbey is called "Rabban Hormizd Monastery" and was crafted in 640 AD at the outskirts of the Mountains of Alqosh. It was used as the Seat for many patriarchs of the Church of the East. From this monastery came Yohannan Sulaqa, who decided to unite with the Catholic Church in 1553 AD and established the Church of Assyria and Mosul, which by the 18th century had become renamed the Chaldean Catholic Church by Rome.

Before that, all of the inhabitants of Alqosh, like their brothers in other Assyrian towns, followed what is erroneously called the Nestorian faith, but actuality were a part of the Church of the East. From 1610 to 1617, the Patriarchate of Alqosh, under Mar Eliyya VIII, entered in Full Communion with Rome. the union was reinstated later in 1771 when the patriarch Eliya Denkha signed a Catholic confession of faith, although no formal union resulted till the reign of patriarch Yohannan VIII (Eliya) Hormizd (1760-1838).[14]

Prophet Nahum and Alqosh

The ancient synagogue in Alqosh reportedly contains the tomb of the prophet Nahum, who correctly predicted the end of the Assyrian Empire. Nahum's bones have been relocated to a nearby church. It was common for Iraqi Jews to make a pilgrimage to Alqosh during Shavuot. "He who has not made the pilgrimage to Nahum's tomb has not yet known real pleasure," was a common saying.[15]


Throughout history, Alqosh has fallen victim to many calamities, most due to their oppressive Muslim neighbors and various overlords. Many attacks occurred after Alqosh started to house the abbey of Rabban Hormizd, which was used as the Seat for several patriarchs of the Chaldean Church, as it attracted the attention of several Muslims looking to harass their Christian neighbors.

According to the testimony, written in a letter by the Qasha Habash Bin Jomaa from 1746, he describes; "... first they attacked Karamles and stole its peoples valuables and kidnapped many of its children and women. They then did the same to the inhabitants of Bartella they killed many of her men, stole their valuables, and also kidnapped its children and women. They did the same to the people of Tel Keppe and Alqosh, however, many of those two neighboring villages took refuge at the Monastery of Rabban Hirmizd. There they were surrounded by the soldiers of Nader Shah who attacked them and then massacred them. There they committed horrendous crimes that I just don't have the stomach to describe!"

In 1828, Alqosh was attacked by the army of Mosa Pasha, the governor of Amadeya, who was instigated by some of his Muslim subjects to attack the Rabban Hirmizd Monastery which he did. His army arrested and imprisoned several monks and priests and caused tremendous damage to the monastery.

Other attacks

  • The village was attack and sacked by Timur (Tamerlane) in 1401 AD.[16]
  • Alqosh was attached in 1508 AD by Pasha of Baghdad Bar Yak (Murad Bey).[16]
  • Mosa Pasha, the governor of Amadiya, approached Alqosh and put fire to Rabban Hermizd Monastery in 1828 AD.[17]
  • Mohammed Pasha (Mira Koor), the Kurdish prince of Rowanduz attacked Alqosh, killing over 600 of its inhabitants in 1832 AD.[17]
  • Resoul Beck, Mira Koor's brother, repeated the attack in 1840 AD.[17]
  • In 2014, the terrorists associated with the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) came close to Alqosh. Almost all of the people fled Alqosh; however, many men and youths did not leave Alqosh due to a desire to protect their town. ISIL failed to take the town after protection from the Assyrian militia[18] Alqoshians and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.[19]
Old farming methods in Alqosh


Party in Alqosh

Many have immigrated outside of the country in huge numbers since the 1970s. It is estimated that at least 40,000 "Alqushnaye" immigrants and their 2nd and 3rd generations now live in the cities of Detroit, Michigan, the western suburb of Fairfield in Sydney, Australia and San Diego, California.

In February 2010, the attacks against Assyrians in Mosul forced 4,300 Assyrians to flee from Mosul to the Nineveh plains where there is an Assyrian majority population. A report by the United Nations stated that 504 Assyrians at once migrated to Alqosh. Many Assyrians from Mosul and Baghdad since the post-2003 Iraq war have fled to Alqosh for safety. There is no actual official census for Alqosh, but many estimate the population between 2,500 and 20,180.[20]

"Alqoshniye" Assyrians mainly speak Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, a Northeastern Neo-Aramaic language.


Alqosh has a semi-arid climate (BSh) with extremely hot and dry summers, and cool wet winters.

Climate data for Alqosh
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 12
Average low °C (°F) 2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 39
Average precipitation days 10 10 11 9 0 0 0 0 0 5 8 12 65
Source: World Weather Online (2000-2012)[21]

See also


  1. ^ a b 1921-2003. University of California, Berkeley, USA. 2008.
  2. ^ "Iraq: Situation report No. 19". ReliefWeb.
  3. ^ Payne Smith, Robert (1879-1901). Thesaurus Syriacus (in Latin). Oxford: Clarendon Press. 221.
  4. ^ " ". Radio Nawa (in Kurdish). Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ "Penaberên Mesîhî li Mûsil li Elqu? Dimînin". VOA (in Kurdish). Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ Ronald Sempill Stafford (1935). The Tragedy of the Assyrian Minority in Iraq. p. 187.
  7. ^ "Post - Assyrian Policy Institute". assyrianpolicy. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ "Iraqi Christians reject second mayor installed by pro-Kurd council". World Watch Monitor. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ "Mayor of Tel Keppe Reinstated After Unlawful Dismissal by KDP". Assyrian Policy Institute. 8 August 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ "Alqosh, Christian village on faultline of Iraq and Kurdistan". Middle East Eye. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ C. J. Edmonds (1957). Kurds, Turks and Arabs, Politics, Travel and Research in North-Eastern Iraq, 1919-1925. Oxford University Press. p. 438. Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ "WATCH: Jewish community in Kurdistan Region celebrates Hanukkah" (in Kurdish). Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ "Janucá en Kurdistán". Ynet (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ Frazee, Charles A. (2006). Catholics and Sultans: The Church and the Ottoman Empire 1453-1923. Cambridge University Press. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-521-02700-7.
  15. ^ Neurink, Judit (5 July 2015). "Kurdistan needs help to preserve its Jewish heritage". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2015.
  16. ^ a b David Wilmshurst (2000). The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East, 1318-1913 (582 ed.). Peeters Publishers. ISBN 9042908769.
  17. ^ a b c Geoff Hann, Karen Dabrowska, Tina Townsend-Greaves (2015). Iraq: The ancient sites and Iraqi Kurdistan. ISBN 1841624888.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^
  19. ^ Costa-Roberts, Daniel (15 March 2015). "8 things you didn't know about Assyrian Christians". PBS. Retrieved 2015.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Alqosh, Ninawa Monthly Climate Average, Iraq". World Weather Online. Retrieved 2017.


External links

Media related to Alqosh at Wikimedia Commons

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