Essential Architecture-  Iraq

Hatra (World Heritage Site)

architect

various

location

The city lies 290 km (180 miles) northwest of Baghdad and 110 km (68 miles) southwest of Mosul.

date

various

style

Islamic

construction

stone

type

Mosque
 
  Greek-style temple facade at Hatra.
 
  Parthian-style temple facade at Hatra.
 
  Parthian-style temple entrance at Hatra.
 
  Colonnades at Hatra.
   
Hatra became an important fortified frontier city and withstood repeated attacks by the Roman Empire, and played an important role in the Second Parthian War. It repulsed the sieges of both Trajan (116/117) and Septimius Severus (198/199). Hatra defeated the Iranians at the battle of Shahrazoor in 238, but fell to the Iranian Sassanid Empire of Shapur I in 241 and was destroyed. The traditional stories of the fall of Hatra tell of an-Nadira, daughter of the King of Araba, who betrayed the city into the hands of Shapur. The story tells of how Shapur killed the king and married an-Nadira, but later had her killed also.



Hatra is the best preserved and most informative example of a Parthian city. It is encircled by inner and outer walls nearly 4 miles (6.4 km) in circumference and supported by more than 160 towers. A temenos surrounds the principal sacred buildings in the city’s centre. The temples cover some 1.2 hectares and are dominated by the Great Temple, an enormous structure with vaults and columns that once rose to 30 metres. The city was famed for its fusion of Greek, Mesopotamian, Syrian and Arabian pantheons, known in Aramaic as Beiṯ Ĕlāhā ("House of God"). The city had temples to Nergal (Babylonian and Akkadian), Hermes (Greek), Atargatis (Syro-Aramaean), Allat and Shamiyyah (Arabian) and Shamash (the Mesopotamian sun god). Other deities mentioned in the Hatran Aramaic inscriptions is the Aramaean Ba'al Shamayn, and the female deity known as Ashurbel, which latter is perhaps the assimilation of the two deities Ashur and Bel, despite their being individually masculine.

links

 
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