Diyala River

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Diyala river
Dyala river.JPG
Country Iraq
Physical characteristics
  locationNorth of Iraq/Western Iran
Tigris River
Length445 km (277 mi)
Basin size32,600 km2 (12,600 sq mi) [1]
Basin features

The Diyala River, is a river and tributary of the Tigris. It is formed by the confluence of Sirwan river and Tanjero river in Darbandikhan Dam in the Sulaymaniyah Governorate of Northern Iraq. It covers a total distance of 445 km (277 mi).

River Natural flowing watercourse

A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill. There are no official definitions for the generic term river as applied to geographic features, although in some countries or communities a stream is defined by its size. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location; examples are "run" in some parts of the United States, "burn" in Scotland and northeast England, and "beck" in northern England. Sometimes a river is defined as being larger than a creek, but not always: the language is vague.

Tigris river which flows from Turkey through Iraq and Syria

The Tigris is the eastern of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq and empties into the Persian Gulf.

Sirwan River river in Iran

The Sirwan River, is a river and tributary of the Tigris that originates in Iran as the Sirwan River then runs mainly through Eastern Iraq. It covers a total distance of 445 km (277 mi).



Diyala river Diyala river.PNG
Diyala river

It rises near Hamadan, in the Zagros Mountains of Iran. It then descends through the mountains, where for some 32 km it forms the border between the two countries. It finally feeds into the Tigris below Baghdad. Navigation of the upper reaches of the Diyala is not possible because of its narrow defiles, but the river's valley provides an important trade route between Iran and Iraq.

Hamadan City in Iran

Hamadān or Hamedān is the capital city of Hamadan Province of Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 473,149, in 127,812 families.

Zagros Mountains mountain range

The Zagros Mountains are a long mountain range in Iran, Iraq and southeastern Turkey. This mountain range has a total length of 1,600 km (990 mi). The Zagros mountain range begins in northwestern Iran and roughly follows Iran's western border, while covering much of southeastern Turkey and northeastern Iraq. From this border region, the range roughly follows Iran's coast on the Persian Gulf. It spans the whole length of the western and southwestern Iranian plateau, ending at the Strait of Hormuz. The highest point is Mount Dena, at 4,409 metres (14,465 ft).

Baghdad Capital of Iraq

Baghdad is the capital of Iraq. Located along the Tigris River, the city was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Within a short time of its inception, Baghdad evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center for the Islamic world. This, in addition to housing several key academic institutions, as well as hosting multiethnic and multireligious environment, garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the "Centre of Learning".

The river flows southwest of the Hamrin Mountains.


Its Aramaic origin is "Diyalas" and in Kurdish it is called "Sirwan", meaning 'roaring sea' or 'shouting river'. In early Islamic period, the lower course of the river formed part of the Nahrawan Canal. The Diyala Governorate in Iraq is named after the river.

The Nahrawan Canal was a major irrigation system of the Sassanid and early Islamic periods in central Iraq, along the eastern banks of the Tigris and the lower course of the Diyala River. Created in the 6th century, it reached its peak under the Abbasid Caliphate, when it served the main water supply for the Abbasid capital of Baghdad, while the regions irrigated by it served as the city's main breadbasket. Its destruction and progressive abandonment from the mid-10th century onwards mirror the Abbasid Caliphate's decline.

Diyala Governorate Governorate in Baqubah, Iraq

Diyala Governorate or Diyala Province is a governorate in eastern Iraq.


Junction of the Bil And Sirwan Riv Bil-Sirwan intersection.jpg
Junction of the Bil And Sirwan Riv

The river is mentioned in Herodotus' Histories under the name Gyndes, where it is stated that the king Cyrus the Great dispersed it by digging 360 channels as punishment after a sacred white horse perished there.[ citation needed ] The river returned to its former proportions after the channels disappeared under the sand.[ citation needed ]

Herodotus Ancient Greek historian

Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire. He is known for having written the book The Histories, a detailed record of his "inquiry" on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars.

<i>Histories</i> (Herodotus) book by Herodotus

The Histories of Herodotus is considered the founding work of history in Western literature. Written in 440 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that were known in Western Asia, Northern Africa and Greece at that time. Although not a fully impartial record, it remains one of the West's most important sources regarding these affairs. Moreover, it established the genre and study of history in the Western world.

Cyrus the Great King and founder of the Achaemenid Empire

Cyrus II of Persia, commonly known as Cyrus the Great, and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the first Persian Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Western Asia and much of Central Asia. From the Mediterranean Sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen. Under his successors, the empire eventually stretched at its maximum extent from parts of the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east. His regal titles in full were The Great King, King of Persia, King of Anshan, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, and King of the Four Corners of the World. The Nabonidus Chronicle notes the change in his title from simply "King of Anshan", a city, to "King of Persia". Assyriologist François Vallat wrote that "When Astyages marched against Cyrus, Cyrus is called 'King of Anshan', but when Cyrus crosses the Tigris on his way to Lydia, he is 'King of Persia'. The coup therefore took place between these two events."

The Battle of Diyala River took place in 693 BC between the forces of the Assyrian empire and the Elamites of southern Iran.

The Battle of Diyala River took place in 693 BC between the forces of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and the Elamites of southern Iran.

In March 1917 the British Empire defeated the Ottoman Empire at the confluence with the Tigris, leading to the Fall of Baghdad, part of the Mesopotamian Campaign of World War I.

Fall of Baghdad (1917)

The Fall of Baghdad occurred during the Mesopotamia Campaign, fought between the forces of the British Empire and the Ottoman Turkish Empire in the First World War.


This area flourished already during the Jemdet Nasr and Early Dynastic periods, through to the Akkadian period. During the Larsa period, Eshnunna especially became prominent.

Major excavations were done in the lower Diyala river basin in the 1930s. They were conducted by the University of Chicago Oriental Institute (1930–1937) and by the University of Pennsylvania (1938–1939). The sites such as Tell Agrab, Tell Asmar (ancient Eshnunna), Ishchali (ancient Neribtum), and Khafaje (ancient Tutub) were excavated.

In Tell Asmar, the Tell Asmar Hoard is particularly notable. Twelve remarkable statues were found belonging to the Early Dynastic period (2900–2350 BC).

At that time, the Diyala was relatively unexplored compared to southern and northern Mesopotamia. But looting of sites was already underway. As the result, the professional excavations were launched.

Archaeologists James Breasted and Henri Frankfort were leading these projects.

These excavations provided very comprehensive data on Mesopotamian archaeology and chronology. They covered the time between the late Uruk period and the end of the Old Babylonian period (3000–1700 BC).

Subsequently, nine detailed monographs were published, but most of the objects, numbering 12,000, remained unpublished. Launched in 1992, the Diyala Database Project has been publishing a lot of this material. [2]

Other scholars who worked there were Thorkild Jacobsen as epigrapher, Seton Lloyd, and Pinhas Delougaz. [3]

More recently, the Diyala region was also explored intensively as part of the Hamrin Dam Salvage Project. [4]

The following sites were excavated from 1977 to 1981: Tell Yelkhi, Tell Hassan, Tell Abu Husaini, Tell Kesaran, Tell Harbud, Tell al-Sarah, and Tell Mahmud. [5]

Scarlet Ware

A type of pottery known as 'Scarlet Ware', a brightly coloured pottery with pictorial representations, was typical of sites along the Diyala River. [6] It developed around 2800 BC, and is related to the Jemdet Nasr ware in central Mesopotamia of the same period. The red colour was achieved predominantly by using haematite paint.

Scarlet Ware is typical of Early Dynastic I and II periods. [7] Along the Diyala is located one of the most important trade routes linking south Mesopotamia with the Iranian plateau. Thus, Scarlet ware was also popular in Pusht-i Kuh, Luristan, and it was traded to Susa during Susa II period.


In Iran the Daryan Dam is currently under construction near Daryan in Kermanshah Province. The purpose of the dam is to divert a significant portion of the river to Southwestern Iran for irrigation through the 48 km (30 mi) long Nosoud Water Conveyance Tunnel and to produce hydroelectric power. [8] [9] In Iraq, the river first reaches the Darbandikhan Dam which generates hydroelectric power and stores water for irrigation. It then flows down to the Hemrin Dam for similar purposes. In the lower Diyala Valley near Baghdad the river is controlled by the Diyala Weir which controls floods and irrigates the area northeast of Baghdad.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Eshnunna Sumerian city-state

Eshnunna was an ancient Sumerian city and city-state in central Mesopotamia. Although situated in the Diyala Valley north-east of Sumer proper, the city nonetheless belonged securely within the Sumerian cultural milieu.

Jemdet Nasr Archaeological site in Iraq

Jemdet Nasr is a tell or settlement mound in Babil Governorate (Iraq) that is best known as the eponymous type site for the Jemdet Nasr period. The site was first excavated in 1926 by Stephen Langdon, who found proto-cuneiform clay tablets in a large mudbrick building thought to be the ancient administrative centre of the site. A second season took place in 1928, but this season was very poorly recorded. Subsequent excavations in the 1980s under British archaeologist Roger Matthews were, among other things, undertaken to relocate the building excavated by Langdon. These excavations have shown that the site was also occupied during the Ubaid, Uruk and Early Dynastic I periods.

Hamrin Mountains mountain in Iraq

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Early Dynastic Period (Mesopotamia) archaeological culture of Mesopotamia

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Jemdet Nasr period archaeological culture of Mesopotamia

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Lake Hamrin, also known as Diyala Dam, is a man-made lake approximately 50 km north-east of the Baqubah, in Iraq's Diyala Governorate. The town of Hamrin sits on the western shore of the lake, both of which are at the southern tip of the Hamrin mountains.


Khafajah or Khafaje is an archaeological site in Diyala Province (Iraq). It was part of the city-state of Eshnunna. The site lies 7 miles (11 km) east of Baghdad and 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Eshnunna.

Tell Ishchali site of an ancient Babylonian city

Tell Ishchali is an archaeological site in Diyala Province (Iraq). It is thought to be ancient Nerebtum or Kiti and was part of the city-state of Eshnunna. It was occupied during the Old Babylonian period.

Tell Agrab archaeological site in Iraq

Tell Agrab is a tell or settlement mound 12.6 miles (20.3 km) southeast of Eshnunna in the Diyala region.

Diyala Weir dam in 90km northeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Diyala Governorate, Iraq

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Chogha Mish Place

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Tell Asmar Hoard

The Tell Asmar Hoard are a collection of twelve statues unearthed in 1933 at Eshnunna in the Diyala Governorate of Iraq. Despite subsequent finds at this site and others throughout the greater Mesopotamian area, they remain the definitive example of the abstract style of Early Dynastic temple sculpture.

Garan Dam dam in Marivan, Marivan County, Kurdistan Province

The Garan Dam is an earth-fill embankment dam on the Garan River, a tributary of the Sirvan River, about 15 km (9.3 mi) northeast of Marivan in Kurdistan Province, Iran. Construction on the dam began in 2002 and it was inaugurated by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on 12 April 2013. It is 62 m (203 ft) tall and withholds a reservoir with a storage capacity of 110,000,000 m3 (89,000 acre⋅ft). The primary purpose of the dam is to supply water for the irrigation of 10,450 ha in Marivan County. It also provides municipal water to the city of Marivan. Officials in Iraq are concerned that the Garan Dam will have a negative impact on the Sirvan River as it feeds the Iraqi Darbandikhan Dam and farmlands below it.

Behnam Nasser Nuaman Abu Alsoof Iraqi archaeologist, anthropologist, historian and writer, he born in Mosul to Christian Syriac family, He completed his elementary and junior high in the city of Mosul, He earned a BA in Archaeology and civilization of the Faculty of Arts, University of Baghdad in 1955, he completed graduate studies at the University of Cambridge, England, and received his doctorate degree in Archaeology and the nucleus of civilization and anthropology in the autumn of 1966, he was at the point scientifically rescue excavations on a wide basin in the Hamrin Dam, and Mosul Dam on the Tigris River in the late seventies to mid-eighties of the last century, He revealed several archaeological sites in Iraq, including Tell es-Sawwan in Samarra in Saladin Governorate This site was from the Stone Age, Also he led his work at the site of Qainj Agha near Erbil Castle settlers to detect a wide range of Uruk period, with two temples serve those in charge amid a residential neighborhood on the bench of Adobe constitute the beginnings of ziggurats in Mesopotamia.


  1. Hussein, Haitham A. (June 2010). "Dependable Discharges of The Upper and Middle Diyala Basins". Journal of Engineering. 16 (2): 4960–4969. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  2. Diyala Project
  3. POTTERY FROM THE DIYALA REGION. By Pinhas Delougaz (The University of Chicago, Oriental Institute Publications, vol. LXIII). XXII+182 pp. +204 plates, Chicago 1952.
  4. McGuire Gibson (ed.), Uch Tepe I: Tell Razuk, Tell Ahmed al-Mughir, Tell Ajamat, Hamrin Reports 10, Copenhagen, 1981.
  5. IRAQ - Hamrin Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino per il Medio Oriente e l'Asia
  6. Francesco Del Bravo, 'Scarlet Ware': Origins, Chronology and Developments, in M. Lebeau - P. de Miroschedji (eds), ARCANE Interregional Vol. I: Ceramics (ARCANE Interregional I), Turnhout (Brepols), 2014: 131-147
  7. Scarlet Ware jar
  8. "Darian Dam" (in Persian). Iran Water Resources Management. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  9. "Water Tunnel Nosoud" (in Persian). JTMA. Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2013.

Coordinates: 33°13′15″N44°30′23″E / 33.2208°N 44.5064°E / 33.2208; 44.5064