February 26, 2013

0527 IRAQ (Nineveh) - Mosul, the City of Two Springs

Situated in the northwestern part of the present day Iraq, on the banks of Tigris, Mosul is the country's second largest city, with more then 1.800.000 inhabitants. The original city stands on the west bank of the river, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass areas on both banks, with five bridges linking the two sides. It is known also as Um Al-Rabi'ain (The City of Two Springs), because autumn and spring are very much alike there.

This city has been continuously inhabited since Assyrian times. Long before Islam, a number of Arab tribes had settled in it, and in later times it played a leading role in the Arab wars of conquest and became a city of great importance. It was an important trade center in the Abbasid era, because of its strategic position on the caravan route between India, Persia and the Mediterranean. It's chief export was cotton, and today's word muslin is derived from the name of the city. The city was also a historic center for the Nestorian Christianity of the Assyrians, containing the tombs of several Old Testament prophets such as Jonah.

Mosul needs to be wandered about in. It's rich in old historical places and ancient buildings: mosques, castles, churches, monasteries, schools, most of which abound in architectural features and decorative works of significance. The town center is dominated by a maze of streets and attractive 19th century houses. The markets are particularly interesting not simply for themselves alone but for the mixture of types who jostle there: Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians and Turkomans.

About the stamps
The stamp is part of the series issued with the occasion of Olimpique Games London 2012, about which I wrote here.

Mosul, Iraq - Atlas Tours
Mosul - Wikipedia

Sender: Bilal Al-Bakri (direct swap)
Sent from Mosul (Iraq), on 12.12.2012

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