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Relief of Naram-Sin • هەڵكۆڵدراوی نیرام سن • نارام سين

The هه‌ڵكۆڵدراوی نیرام سن Relief of Naram-Sin is an ancient relief, also known as the هه‌ڵكۆڵدراوی ده‌ربه‌ندی كاوه‌ر (Relief of Gawar Pass) in Kurdish. It is located in دەربەندی گاوەر Darbandi Gawar in Kurdish, which means pass of the pagan -- a name it gets because the relief was thought to be a pre-Abrahamic god. This strait is to be found 45 kilometers southwest of Slemani city, near Qaradagh town, in the Goshan Valley at the southeast of the Qaradagh mountain range. Qara Dagh is Turkish for black mountain.

The sculpture is typically associated with Akkadian king Naram-sin, although textual evidence does not confirm this. If correct, this would date to the relief to ~ BCE (about 4,000 years old). The interpretation is supported by artistic similarities to the inscribed Stele of Naram-Sin, and the broad range of the Akkadian king's borders which went all the way to Diyarbakir in the north (making the strait a plausible battle site).

Not far from the town of Qaradagh high in the mountain range of Quopy there is a rock carving of the Akkadian King Naram-Sin who was the ruler of Sumer from about ~ BCE to ~ BCE, he was also known as the King of Kish. It is a long drive from Sulaimaniya through some spectacular scenery and then the road simply runs out. It is quite a climb for someone who isn’t fit. The first time I made the climb I picked my way not very elegantly sometimes on hands and knees over the rocks and loose stones, I was so determined to get to the top I never had the time to look at the surroundings as I was so busy concentrating on finding a safe place for my hands and feet. It took me over half an hour to get to the relief; the last ten minutes is almost sheer rock. This ancient King from so long ago has gazed out over these mountains for well over 4,000 years; at his feet lie 2 figures who represent his enemies. There are bullet holes over the entire relief where soldiers from the Iraqi army tried to obliterate him in 1988 during the ANFAL operations. Thankfully he is high up on the wall of rock and out of reach of serious damage. In 2006 staff from the Sulaimaniya Museum managed to bring scaffolding up and filled the bullet holes and cleaned the stone so it now looks fantastic. They have also made a plaster cast of the relief which is now in the museum. Even higher up there are remains of a castle and a cemetery.