Zakhiku: The ancient city in Iraq revealed by severe drought

The ruins of a submerged city on the Tigris River that emerged this year belonged to a little-known empire.
From the same mountainous regions in what is present-day Turkey and Iran, merchants transporting metals and minerals such as gold, silver, tin and copper would travel by donkey or camel to Zakhiku. To protect against bandits, they would make the difficult journey as caravans of travellers. After selling their wares in Zakhiku, the merchants would cross the Tigris before continuing on to the borderlands.
Zakhiku was founded around 1,800 BC by the Old Babylonian Empire that ruled Mesopotamia between the 19th and 15th centuries BC. With only water and soil in the area, Zakhiku was established to take advantage of the traffic of caravans and a flourishing trade route in the Near East, which includes the present-day Middle East, Turkey and Egypt.

Zakhiku was initially founded for its location on a flourishing trade route plied by caravans of merchants [Courtesy of the University of Tübingen]

The trading post grew into an important commercial city in the region for about 600 years before it was hit by an earthquake and later abandoned.
Zakhiku disappeared altogether in the 1980s, when – as part of the Mosul Dam project, built under the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein – it was flooded and submerged. Previously known as Saddam Dam, it is Iraq’s largest and most important water reservoir used for downstream irrigation.


By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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