The ancient Nineveh is located on the outskirts of Mosul, 44 km north of Baghdad. The ruins of this city were discovered in the autumn of 1849 by Austin Henry Layard. Nineveh was the last capital of the Assyrian Empire and originated in ancient times. Already the Babylonian king-legislator Hammurabi about 1930 year BC mentions the temple of Ishtar, around which was located Nineveh.

The ancient Nineveh is located on the outskirts of Mosul, 44 km north of Baghdad

At the time when Ashur and Kalah were already royal residences, Nineveh still continued to be a provincial city. Her elevation is associated with the name of the Assyrian king Sinakhherib, for whom Nineveh in the 7th century BC became the capital. At that time, Assyria was one of the mighty powers of the East. Its borders included all of Mesopotamia: in the west up to Syria and Palestine, and in the east to the possessions of wild mountain peoples.

King Sinakhherib - a gifted commander, did everything to make his new capital Nineveh eclipse the glory of the former capitals of Assyria. On his orders, entire blocks of old buildings were demolished to make way for new giant palaces, squares and streets. In the western part of the city the palace of the king was built, for the description of which the ancient authors did not have enough words. The city was surrounded by a 25-meter-high wall.

With the son of Sinahherib, Ashurbanipale, Nineveh reached its peak. It became the most powerful city, the largest political and economic center, and also the center of culture, science and art - the real Assyrian Rome.

Nineveh was also the largest trade center of the country. As the ancient author wrote, in the city "there were more merchants than stars in the sky".

Nineveh remained forever in history as a symbol of the capital of the pagan Asian empire. It was a city of gigantic, superhuman-scale palaces, squares and streets, a city of new, unheard of technology. In addition, Nineveh was a city where power belonged to a narrow stratum of priests and leaders, regardless of whether they based their right of domination: on the right of origin, on the right of power, on racial superiority, on money, or on the totality of all this.

In the Bible there is a prophecy about the death of Assyria. This prophecy has come true. Nineveh was completely destroyed. In 612 BC the united army of the Median king Kiaksar and the Babylonian king Nabopalasar besieged the city, and Nineveh was taken by storm. The palaces and walls were destroyed, the inhabitants were killed or stolen into slavery.

Remains of the palace of the kings of Sinakhherib and Ashurbanapal are preserved. Paintings, reliefs, magnificent tiles, mosaics; all this is sustained in cold - mostly black, yellow and dark purple. The reliefs and sculptures are remarkable for their expressive naturalism.

The most significant find of Nineveh was made famous by the library of King Ashurbanapal. It consisted of 30 thousand classified and classified tablets with royal decrees, palace records, religious texts and magical conspiracies, epic narrations, songs and hymns, texts containing information about medicine, astronomy and other sciences.

Another famous discovery of Nineveh was the archives of the kings. Among the more than two thousand letters and their fragments found here, about two hundred are personal correspondence of the kings, covering the period from Sargon the second to Ashurbanapal.

Excavations of the city of Nineveh continue to this day. In 1956, Nergal's gates were unearthed and then restored to the ancient city. They are decorated with ancient paintings, approaches paved with large stone slabs. Now here is a small museum. Two guards, the winged bulls of Assyria, silently rise at the restored gate.