Shatha Khalil *
History and location of Kirkuk:
The city of Kirkuk is one of the oldest and most ancient Iraqi cities, part of the Iraqi civilization, and an area of ten thousand square kilometers, and the population of about one and a half million people, between Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and other nationalities.
Kirkuk, about 250 km from Baghdad, contains tourist attractions and religious shrines. It has a history of ancient times, where traces of the Assyrian era were found, and it was exposed to the Iranian, Greek and other occupations that passed through Iraq. And by the virtue of its long history and its important position , it contained all the diversity of Iraq’s population of Turkmen, Arabs, Kurds , Syrian and Armenians , as well as Muslims , Christians, Shiites , and Yazidis and the Turkmen language is still dominant in the city of Kirkuk, especially in the castle .
Kirkuk is one of the richest provinces in Iraq with oil, and it has real foundations for religious , recreational and archaeological tourism , and in front of those elements Castle Kirkuk, which is one of the most important historical places, which can be exploited and make it a real tourist for most of those who come to the city.
Kirkuk is famous for a number of archaeological markets, which distinguish it from the other provinces of Iraq.
Kirkuk oil and oil fields in it:
The province is characterized by its geographical location and economic wealth, which contains a huge oil reserves, estimated to produce 40% of the total Iraqi oil, and 70% of the natural gas
where the amount of reserves of oil fields in Kirkuk, disputed between the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, more than 35 billion barrels with a production capacity ranging between 750 thousand barrels and one million barrels per day.
The most prominent Iraqi oil fields in the central and northern region:
– Iraq, according to geological studies, contains about 530 geological components that give strong indications of the existence of a huge oil reserves. Only 115 of these components have been excavated, of which 71 proved to contain huge oil reserves that are distributed over many fields.
The discovered Iraqi fields are 71 fields and only 27 fields have been used, including 10 giant ones.
The undiscovered and undeveloped fields are found in most of Iraq’s provinces except four: Qadisiyah, Babylon, Anbar and Dohuk, and the most important oil fields of Iraq:
– Kirkuk field: The fifth largest field in the world in terms of capacity, located in the city of Kirkuk, and contains 300 wells, and the rate of production of one well 35 thousand barrels per day.
The field of Kirkuk is one of the important oil fields in Iraq. It is estimated that the field reserves close to 10 billion barrels of oil of good quality, and the maximum capacity of the field million barrels per day, but the average production during the past few years fell significantly until dropped to about 150 thousand barrels per day only ..
It is estimated that the total reserves of Kirkuk province of oil is modest compared to other areas in Iraq, not exceeding 13 billion barrels, which represents 12% of Iraq’s oil reserves.
One of the most important fields of the province of Kirkuk is Baba Karkar and Jambour and khabaz and Khormal and Bai Hassan and Avana
– Bai Hassan field: west of the Kirkuk field, the wells deeper than the wells of the Kirkuk field, and began production since June 1959.
– Jambour field: north-east of the city of Kirkuk, which is parallel to Kirkuk and Bai Hassan. Production began in August 1959.
– Field of East Baghdad: production of twenty thousand barrels per day.
– Al-Najma field: is located in the province of Nineveh, and the rate of production to more than 100 thousand barrels per day.
– Gharraf field: Located in the district of Rifai, and currently produces more than 100 thousand barrels per day through 18 oil wells. According to reports, its production in mid-2017 will be more than 230,000 barrels per day and its reserves are estimated at 900 million barrels.
Kirkuk oilfield is the oldest field in Iraq and the second largest oil field in the world after the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia in terms of production capacity and the fifth largest field in the world in size.
The flame, which emerges from the field of Kirkuk or Baba Karkar, is known as the “eternal fire”, a fire caused by the ignition of gas emitted from the ground near the oil field due to cracks in the earth’s crust. The history of this fire dates back to ancient times. , It broke out on its own since 550 BC. , and it has been burning to this day, defying rain, snow and wind; and because it is never extinguished, it is called by this name (eternal fire).
The production of one of the wells in the Kirkuk field to 100 thousand barrels per day for a long time, while the average production well in the field is currently 35 thousand barrels per day.
This field was discovered in 1927 and entered the production stage in 1934 under the management of the Iraqi Oil Company after the completion of the construction of a pipeline from Kirkuk to the ports of Haifa in Palestine before the establishment of Israel, and to Tripoli in Lebanon, and at a later stage was exported through the Syrian port of Banias until it was closed by the Syrian government during the Iran-Iraq war, which broke out in 1980 and ended eight years later.
The production of the Kirkuk fields is now exported via the oil pipeline that passes through Turkish territory to the port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea.
Archaeological castles in Kirkuk:
Kirkuk Castle is located in the center of the city of Kirkuk, and is one of the oldest parts of the city and its ruins date back to the Assyrian era. It can be said that this high ruins , now called the Citadel of Kirkuk, has been famous since the middle of the second millennium BC (Dimtokrki Shiloacho) , it means a castle of the city of Shiloh which was named by its ancient ruler (Shiloh Techop). It was built during the reign of the Assyrian king (Ashurnasir Pal II) between 850 and 884 BC, where the king took it as a line of defense and one of his armies’ centers. King Seleucus 1Nicator (Sluks) then built a strong defensive wall around the castle and built 72 towers around its thirty-two streets and entrances. It was visited by the Mongol leader Tamerlane in 1393, during his military campaign.
The castle of Kirkuk is originally built on a circular hill with four corners that rises from the surrounding plains by 120 feet. It overlooks a small river valley with little water, usually flowing in the rainy seasons, known as the al khasa River. It seems that this castle was walled in ancient times and had four doors and the Ottomans gave it the following names: Al- B ab al –Raisi( the main door ) , Bab al-Tob ( Canoon door ) , Bab al- Sabaa banat (the door of the seven girls) ), and the Bab al-Halojia, and the castle is characterized by a unique type of architecture, as most of its structure of white stone and plaster and its roads paved with a kind of bricks called ( al- Farashi bricks).
The most famous residential complexes in the citadel of Kirkuk were in its western section, which was famous for its Hamam neighborhood where Muslims shared their Christian brothers living together for many centuries. Both the center of Bagrami diocese and the Prophet Daniel Mosque were located in the same locality.
According to Iyad Tariq, director of the Department of antiquities in Kirkuk , the castle contains sites and prominent shrines , the most important of which are the tomb of the Prophet Daniel, the tomb of Prophet Hanin (p) and the shrine of the Prophet Uzair and also includes the red church which is one of the most distinguished feature of the ancient castle , and the characterized by the presence of mosaics inscriptions on its old walls , and the castle includes several mosques, including the Great Mosque, Fuzuli mosque, the Mosque of Ariane, and the mosque Hassan Bakis.
It includes a number of old houses known for their names: Beit Tayfur, Beit Abdul Ghani, Beit Siddiq Alaf, Beit Fateh, Beit Mikael and Beit Touma.
And the possibility of investing this great heritage in the castle through tourism, the director of antiquities says: (we can make the castle of Kirkuk a distinct tourist site after many of the reconstruction and many of the maintenance and drilling of a well).
Tariq pointed out that in 1997, the Department of Archeology conducted a new geological survey and excavations at the Citadel resulting in the discovery of a large gate leading to a city under the castle, but stopped work after the government prevented the opening of the door only by specialists in the field of excavations and archaeological discoveries in Iraq.
Kirkuk Kishla :
Kushla Kirkuk is an old building which was the military headquarters of the Ottoman forces in the city of Kirkuk, and Qashla was built according to the Ottoman sultanat in 1863, located in the center of the city of Kirkuk and an area of 24282 square meters. The word “Qishla” is a Turkish word meaning the place where the soldiers stay.
The Archaeological Foundation in Kirkuk has carried out renovations and used a cultural center and a museum.
Kayseri of Kirkuk:
It is an old market located to the south of (Kirkuk Castle), built a commercial center to facilitate the sale and purchase of the population of the city of Kirkuk in the Ottoman era in 1855 and re-built in 1978.
this archaeological edifice is distinguished by accuracy of its building as It was built on the basis of the times and contains 365 shops symbolizing the number of days of the year, 24 branches symbolizing the number of hours of the day, 22 small rooms on the upper floor as a reference to the number of months of the year, and 7 doors of the signal to the number of days of the week. The market architects were not satisfied with this, but their fertile imagination led them to make one of the seven entrances to receive the sun when it shines and another entrance to say farewell when it sets.
The market attracted various craftsmen and their customers. its shops were filled by : Drapers ( cloth merchants) , spice dealer , Weavers, , Tailors, dyeing of Textiles, yarns, and Wool, and furniture vendors.
The market, like any other historical and heritage buildings in Kirkuk, is architectural with its vaults, ceilings, columns and ornaments. The most important characteristics of this dome are the alleviation of the pressure exerted on the walls and then on the basis of construction. There are flat domes on the caesarean surface and in the middle of each of it , there is ceiling opening for illumination and ventilation purposes and regarding the arches Which decorate the entrance of the market and its shops are of plaster or of pointed marble, caesarean, such as any historical and heritage building in Kirkuk is not free of decorations and drawings and friezes.
Castle of Gramo:
Gramo is one of the oldest agricultural communities in the world. It is the archaeological area located at the bottom of the Zakros Mountains east of the city of Kirkuk. It dates back to 700 BC, one of the oldest villages of the Neolithic period, which was excavated.
Gramo contained 100-150 people who lived in 20 mud-brick houses where the inhabitants of Gramo practiced primitive agriculture, and they were raising domestic animals.
And the most important features, holy sites and religious shrines in Kirkuk:
Mosque of Prophet Daniel
The mosque is built on a tomb that is believed to contain the remains of the Prophet Daniel. It is located within the citadel of Kirkuk. It contains two domes and three minarets, in addition to arches and columns, whose construction dates back to the time of the Mongols. The mosque covers 400 square meters and contains four tombs (shrines), it is believed that they belong to : Daniel , Hana , Azra, and Mikhail … The people of Kirkuk , Muslims, Christians and even the ancient Jews bury their dead near the mosque to be blessed and love and respect for the Prophet Daniel (p).
The Shrine of Imam Sultan Saqi
The shrine is located in the southwest of the city of Kirkuk, in the area of ninety , located within the cemetery of the people of the region and for the same habit , the people of Kirkuk bury their dead beside this shrine to be blessed by Imam Sultan Saki and his sister Sultana, as he is one of the grandchildren of Jafar al-Tayar , cousin of the Prophet Muhammad (r) and brother of Ali ibn Abi Taleb and it is believed to have fled to this area to get rid of oppression of the Abbasids, and there are dozens of shrines and other holy sites in Kirkuk.
Religious tourism is one of the important sources in enriching the city of Kirkuk through religious shrines and holy sites spread throughout Kirkuk. It can be a good base for religious tourism and its promotion through the media. In Daqouq area there is the shrine of Imam Zine El Abidine in addition to (Hadi ibn Musa al-Kadhim) peace be upon them.
Kirkuk International Airport:
The efforts of Prime Minister Haider Abadi in realizing the dream of running the Kirkuk civil airport, and the continuation of work and with distinguished efforts of the implementation of the law enforcement plan in Kirkuk, the acting governor Rakan Saeed Jubouri initiated to activate the operation of the civil airport in the province, being the artery of economic development and attracting investment ,and
the reconstruction of liberated areas and the alleviation of the burden of more than 1.5 million people in Kirkuk and more than three million residents of the provinces of (Diyala, Salah al-Din and southern Mosul) and the difficulty of the arrival of passengers to Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports, especially residents of Kirkuk .
In view of the importance of the strategic and economic location of the province, which necessitated the existence of a civilian airport, in January 2012 the airport in Kirkuk was converted from military to civilian, which contributed in making it a major center for transport and activating the commercial and urban movement in the province.
The airport is located in the western part of the city of Kirkuk and between the intersection of roads and local and regional transport and ways of linking between the neighboring provinces of the province of Kirkuk. And that the operation of the airport represents a move to Kirkuk and makes it a focus of national, regional and international attention because of its economic and agricultural importance, being a miniature Iraq.
The airport of Kirkuk or the so-called Al Hurriya Air Base is one of the most important air bases in the country, and has played a prominent role in the Iraq-Iran war. The American forces have taken it as a military base since 2003 and after its withdrawal on November 17, Iraq has demanded the administration of Kirkuk and its local council to be converted to a civilian airport.
The Kirkuk Investment Authority is building the airport, and the decision of the Iraqi government comes after eight years of waiting.
“The province of Kirkuk has an economic, housing and geographic weight that qualifies it to be one of the competing commercial cities in the region and the Middle East, and encourages investment, investors and traders to establish more investment and strategic projects, especially in the field of oil industry, services and reconstruction.
The Directorate of the province of Kirkuk, issued a definition pamphlet of the importance of Kirkuk airport and its role in activating the economic movement of the province, where it includes economic and geographical information to stimulate companies to apply for the opportunity to operate the airport where a new tower was completed for the French company Tels stressing that all runways are ready to receive airplanes.
Aproject of dam of khasa Jay
It is one of the most important projects located on the river of khasa Jay northeast of the city of Kirkuk, which passes in the middle of the city of Kirkuk, where the city is divided into two parts.
• Permanent water sources are available in the river at all times of the year
• Irrigation water is available for parks and green areas of the city of Kirkuk.
• Future tourism investment is able to set up tourist resorts / tourist facilities / recreational lakes near and around the lake formed by the dam, which helps to encourage tourism investments.
• Positive reflection of the environment in the city of Kirkuk.
• The storage capacity of the dam is 47 million cubic meters of water
• The project helps to provide groundwater.
Kirkuk is a small Iraq that contains components that coexist throughout history. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Planning, there are one million and 489,000 people.
A meeting point between the south and central and northern Iraq, is of great importance in the oil sector.
Kirkuk has green agricultural areas and fertile land.
The operation of the airport in Kirkuk will contribute to the construction and urban development of the city where banks, tourist hotels, transit hotels, sophisticated hospitals, restaurants, marketing shops and car parks are being established.
The investments in Kirkuk attract tourists and transport citizens of Kirkuk during the Umrah season, religious pilgrimage and archaeological tourism.
Developing economic activity in Kirkuk
It is possible to develop, update and study the Kirkuk Civil Airport by the investment companies and take advantage of the equipment and requirements in the current Kirkuk Civil Airport in terms of (visual and invisible equipment, takeoff and landing corridors, aircraft ground movements, observation building etc.) and it can receive large and huge airplanes.
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies