Welcome to ھەولێر Hawler (أربيل Erbil), the oldest living city in the world. Its ancient history is understood as the history of the citadel itself; this article focuses on the modern municipal history.
ھەولێر Hawler is the city's Kurdish name, but it is also known internationally by its Arabic name أربيل Erbil (ܐܪܒܝܠ in Syriac). It is the capital of ھەولێر Hawlerأربيل Erbil Governorate and the whole Kurdistan Regional Government.
Four major concentric streets thread the city together, with the قهڵایالقلعة citadel at their center. A map of the city looks like the rings of a dartboard, with the bullseye being the citadel. These major streets are named after their widths: 30 meter road, 60 meter road, 100 meter road, and 120 meter road (under construction).
The largest park in the city is پاركى سامى عهبدو ئهلڕهحمان Sami Abdulrahman Park, a center for exercise and leisure with its gymnasium, pool, running track, scenic ponds, vast greens, and tree-lined promenades. پاركی مناره و شانهدهر Minaret and Shanadar Parks are located across the street from each other and excellent for their cultural riches. It is always easy to find them because the iconic مناره چۆلی Choly Minaret rises above its surroundings. At the city center is پاركی شار Shar Park with its fountains and plentiful places to sit.
Also at the city center, you will find بازاڕى قهيسهرى Old Bazaar with its labyrinth passageways, چایخانهی مچكۆ Machiko teahouse, the Governorate offices, and lots more. Also, there are highways that emanate straight out from the city center to other cities. These are known by their destinations: Kirkuk Road, Mosul Road, Ankawa Road, and Shoresh/Massif Road. The city is divided into many neighborhoods and Ankawa is an adjacent, fairly self-sufficient municipality.
There are several main bazaars.
Bazari Shekh Alla has a locally renowned area for birds. It is a wonderous tour through the highly differentiated pigeon breeds, plus an array of good parakeets, sparrows, chickens, geese, turkeys, and so on.
بازاڕى لەنگە Bazari Langaسوق اللنكة Souk alLanka (لەنگە is Kurdish for thrift or secondhand) is the go-to place for wise clothes and home-goods shopping.
Bazari Iskan is the social bazar.
مێژووی هەولێر Hawler history
The city was settled as early as the 23rd century BC, and confined to the present location of the citadel by a city wall. Neo-Sumerian ruler Amar-Sin sacked Urbilum as it was known in 1975 BC and the Moguls stormed the city, led by Ghengis Khan in 1237. Please read the history of the citadel for Hawler's pre-modern history.
The parliament of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region was established in Arbil in 1970, but it was effectively under Hussein's control until the 1991 Kurdish uprising.
al-Anfal and Civil War
Arbil was captured by the KDP in 1996 with the assistance of the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein.
During the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, a United States special forces task force was headquartered just outside of Arbil. The city was the scene of rapturous celebrations on April 10, 2003 after the fall of Baghdad. Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, only isolated, sporadic violence has hit Arbil, unlike many other areas of Iraq.
US Occupation of Iraq
Parallel bomb attacks against the Eid celebrations arranged by the PUK and KDP killed 109 people on February 1, 2004. Responsibility was claimed by the Islamist group Ansar al-Sunnah, and stated to be in solidarity with the Kurdish Islamist faction Ansar al-Islam. Another bombing on May 4, 2005 killed 60 civilians. Despite these bombings the population generally feels safe.
A surge in foreign investment and an expanding domestic economy have led to enormous development in the Kurdistan Region, and especially at Hawler. Hawler is filled with beautiful parks. The fountains at the city center have kaleidoscopic, shifting colors at night. The streets are busy, crowded, with a mix of old mud-brick, dated cement and new glassy buildings. Industry and new construction have exploded in Hawler, flooding it with new business and construction. But turn down any side-street and you’ll be lost in a bazaar or the capillary network of ancient, narrow residential streets.
There are many گەرەک garak (quarters) in Hawler.
City Center, until 60m Street
There are four quarters bounded by 30 Meter Street at the city center.
In the city center, the citadel is always within a fifteen minute walk. This area is bounded by 60m Street at its outer limit, and within it are 30m Street, the historic citadel (no longer residentially occupied), bazari qaysari, and nine quarters. Additionally, there are some major roads: there is Batta St, adjacent to the citadel, which then continues on on Taajeel St (with its ruined, historic homes).
گەرەکی خانەقا Garaki Khanaqaخي خانقة Hee Khanaqa
گەرەکی خانەقا Garaki Khanaqa
There are five quarters between 30m St and 60m St.
There is an important popular bazaar between Teyrawa and ابن المستوفي Ibn alMustawfi.
60m to 100m Streets
The northwest of this area contains the Parliament, Sami Abdulrahman, and all the wealthiest areas.
گەرەکیصلاح الدين (Salah adDin quarter)
گەرەکیكورانى عينكاوا (Kuran Ankawa quarter)
گەرەکیبختياري (Bakhtiary quarter)
گەرەکیناز (Naz quarter)
گەرەکیمدينة الاحلام (Dream City)
باركى الشهيد سامي عبد الرحمن Parki aShaheed Abid alRahman (Sami Abdulrahman Park)
شورش (Shoresh quarter)
كانى (Kany quarter)
كويستان (Kwestan quarter)
خانزاد (Khanzad quarter)
راپەرین (Raparen quarter)
برایەتی (Brayaty quarter)