As-Sulaymaniyah, located in the northeastern part of Iraq, is a city steeped in history and known for its vibrant culture and resilient people.
Nestled in the picturesque mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, As-Sulaymaniyah benefits from its strategic location. The city is situated at an elevation of approximately 900 meters (2,950 feet) above sea level, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Its geographical position has played a pivotal role in the city's history, acting as a crossroads for trade and cultural exchange throughout the ages.
The history of As-Sulaymaniyah traces back thousands of years, with evidence of human habitation dating back to the Paleolithic era. Over time, various civilizations and ethnic groups have called this region home. The city's population consists primarily of Kurds, who form the majority ethnic group in Iraqi Kurdistan. Kurds have inhabited the area for centuries and have played a central role in shaping the city's cultural fabric.
As-Sulaymaniyah has witnessed numerous pivotal events that have influenced the region's history. One of the most significant milestones occurred during the 18th century when the city became the capital of the principality of Baban. Under the Baban rule, As-Sulaymaniyah experienced a period of growth and prosperity, marked by the establishment of educational institutions, cultural centers, and a flourishing economy.
As-Sulaymaniyah's history has been marked by periods of political turmoil and conflict. Throughout the 20th century, the region experienced the struggles of Kurdish nationalism and resistance against central governments. The city played a key role in the Kurdish nationalist movement, with political and military leaders emerging from its streets. As-Sulaymaniyah served as a bastion of resistance against oppressive regimes, including the Ba'athist regime of Saddam Hussein.
One of the darkest chapters in As-Sulaymaniyah's history unfolded during the Anfal Campaign of the late 1980s. Saddam Hussein's regime systematically targeted Kurdish communities, including As-Sulaymaniyah, in an attempt to suppress Kurdish nationalism. The city and its inhabitants suffered greatly, with widespread human rights abuses, forced displacements, and mass killings. The scars of this tragic period remain etched in the collective memory of As-Sulaymaniyah's residents.
Following the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, As-Sulaymaniyah experienced a period of relative stability and progress. The establishment of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) brought increased autonomy and opportunities for self-governance. The city has since witnessed remarkable development in infrastructure, education, healthcare, and tourism. As-Sulaymaniyah has become a cultural and intellectual hub, attracting scholars, artists, and tourists from both within Iraq and abroad.