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Gondik • گۆندك • كوندك

This village was known as Nerem (or Nerem d'Ra'awatha) by the Christians, but after their ethnic cleansing it is known only as Gondik by the Kurds, from their word gund for village.

Gondik village is among a string of villages tucked into valleys up against the Zagros Mountains. Inhabited today solely by Zebari Kurds, it is most prominent for a cave with ancient carvings, and an abandoned church. There are just over 1,200 residents belong to 173 families. Tourists seldom visit. When I arrived in , it was estimated that the last tourist was at least a year prior, and perhaps two or three.

Nerem ... was an Assyrian village of great importance as the location of a Church of the East bishopric in the mid-nineteenth century. In fact, Bishop Mar Awrahem (Awraha) had originally been of the Chaldean religious affiliation, but reportedly returned to Nestorianism (Church of the East) around that time. In 1850 Nerem was home to twelve Nestorian families served by a priest and one church. By 1913 there were over one hundred Chaldeans, with a single priest and church. The number who remained faithful to the Mar Shem'on patriarchal line of the Church of the East at that time remains unknown. By 1918 the Assyrian population of Nerem had decreased to sixty-six people (fourteen families) who made up about half the population of the village, along with Kurds and a small number of adherents of Judaism with their own synagogue. These Jews left during the expulsion of 1949 to 1951, and the Christians were forced out of Nerem in 1961 by government militia forces. Donabed 2010, p 104


Church near Gondik.

Youkhana Cave

Iraq Then and Now

Donabed, 2010

Donabed, Sargon. 2010. Iraq and the Assyrian Unimagining: Illuminating Scaled Suffering and a Hierarchy of Genocide from Simele to Anfal.

He also mentions Badger tells of this village in The Nestorians and their Rituals Vol 1, on page 390. And according to AAS, Field Mission Iraq 2004, the relief was dynamited in the past 5 years by treasure hunters. The reliefs are also mentioned by Wahbi in The Rock Sculptures in Gunduk Cave, Sumer IV 1948.