Erbil

Erbil, also called Hawler (Kurdish: ھەولێر ,Hewlêr[3] Arabic: أربيل, romanized: Arbīl,[4] Syriac: ܐܲܪܒܹܝܠ,[5] or Arbel)[6] known in ancient history as Arbela, is the capital and most populated city in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.[7] It has around 1.5 million inhabitants,[2] while Erbil Governorate has 2,932,800 inhabitants as of 2020.[8]

Erbil
ھەولێر
Nickname(s): 
The City of Citadel and Minaret
(Kurdish: شاری قەڵا و منارە)[1]
Location of Erbil within the Kurdistan Region
Erbil (Iraq)
Coordinates: 36.191188°N 44.009189°E / 36.191188; 44.009189
Country Iraq
Region Kurdistan Region
GovernorateErbil
Government
  MayorOmed Khoshnaw
Area
  Total115 km2 (44 sq mi)
  Land113 km2 (44 sq mi)
  Water2 km2 (0.8 sq mi)
Elevation
390 m (1,280 ft)
Population
 (2021 estimation)
  Total1,200,000[2]
Demonym(s)Hawleri
Time zoneUTC+3 (AST)
Postal code
44001
Area code(s)066
WebsiteHawlerGov.org

Human settlement at Erbil may be dated back to the 5th millennium BC, which would make the city one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the world.[9] At the heart of the city is the ancient Citadel of Erbil and Mudhafaria Minaret. The earliest historical reference to the region dates to the Third Dynasty of Ur of Sumer, when King Shulgi mentioned the city of Urbilum. The city was later conquered by the Assyrians.[10][11]

Erbil became an integral part of the kingdom of Assyria by the 21st century BC through to the end of the seventh century BC, after it was captured by the Gutians, and it was known in Assyrian annals variously as Urbilim, Arbela and Arba-ilu. Subsequent to this, it was part of the geopolitical province of Assyria under several empires in turn, including the Median Empire, the Achaemenid Empire (Achaemenid Assyria), Macedonian Empire, Seleucid Empire, Armenian Empire, Parthian Empire, Roman Assyria and Sasanian Empire, as well as being the capital of the tributary state of Adiabene between the mid-second century BC and early second century AD.

Following the Muslim conquest of Persia, it no longer remained a unitary region, and during the Middle Ages, the city came to be ruled by the Seljuk and Ottoman empires.[12]

Erbil's archaeological museum houses a large collection of pre-Islamic artefacts, particularly the art of Mesopotamia, and is a center for archaeological projects in the area.[13] The city was designated as Arab Tourism Capital 2014 by the Arab Council of Tourism.[14][15] In July 2014, the Citadel of Arbil was inscribed as a World Heritage site.

The city has an ethnically diverse population of Kurds, Turkmens,[16] Assyrians, Arabs and Armenians. It is equally religiously diverse, with believers of Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Christianity, Yarsanism and Yazidism.