Tradition states that the city Koya has moved. Its first location (called Aski Koya) was founded 2500 years ago in the steppes near the current Koya. After its destruction during the Conquests, it was rebuilt (called كاوله كو Kaula Koo Kawla Ku) in a spot with abundant water to the northwest of the current city, at the foot of Hamamuk, at an elevated place at the versant of Mount Bawage. By 1600 it moved again to its current location, and was one of the oldest Ottoman districts.
Famous for its religious schools, and the first public school was opened in 1885. Koya s one of the cultural and artistic motherlands of Kurdistan. It is the birthplace of many classical and modern Kurdish poets, and a group of elite reciters of the Kurdish Maqam (Classical Songs or Modes).
Koya's name comes from the old Kurdish word kohsar, meaning a rocky or mountainous region. قهزای كۆیه Qazai Koya قضاء كوية (Koya District) is strategically important because it borders Suleimani Governorate (to the east), Hawler Governorate, and Garmian Administration (Kirkuk). The Zey Koyeنهر الزاب السفل (Lower/Little Zab River) runs to its east and south, and is the border between it and Kirkuk and Suleimani. To the northeast is جبل هيبت سلطان Mount Haibat Sultan (1092 m) and to the west is جبل باواجي Mount Bawage (1260 m). There are 80 archaeological sites in Koya, most of which are pre-Christian.
Judaism in Koya
After a difficult march of two days [from Rowandis] I arrived at Choi-Sandjack to the east of Rowandis. The Jewish population there consists of about 70 families, who live in a less oppressed condition than those at Rowandis. Some of them are engaged in agricultural pursuits, and some in trade. The inhabitants of this place are more industrious than those of the former. Benjamin II (1859), p 93