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Mesopotamia / Cities /
Calah / Nimrud
Other spelling: Kalhu; Kalakh



Calah

Nimrud/Calah (Iraq) seen from the air.
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Nimrud/Calah (Iraq) seen from the air. Photo: UNESCO.

A human-headed winged bull and winged lion (lamassu), Nimrud/Calah, Iraq. Now in British Museum, London, UK.
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A human-headed winged bull and winged lion (lamassu), Nimrud/Calah, Iraq. Now in British Museum, London, UK.

Present day ruins of Nimrud/Calah.
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Present day ruins of Nimrud/Calah.

Second capital of Assyria, situated south of modern Mosul in Iraq. Calah is often referred to as Nimrud.
Calah became a fairly important city of learning, particularly with religious sciences.
Calah had a number of temples and important buildings. A large number of these have inscriptions about King Ashurnasirpal 2, with more details about him than any other ruler of this epoch.
The city of King Ashurnasirpal 2 housed perhaps as many as 100,000 inhabitants. It was adorned with a botanical and zoological garden, and there were temples to Nunurta and Enlil.

History
13th century BCE: Founded by King Shalmaneser 1, but only as a smaller provincial town.
879: Calah is made capital of Assyria by King Ashurnasirpal 2, at the expense of Nineveh.
798 BCE: The Ezida chapel, devoted to the god Nebu, is built.
706 BCE: Dur-Sharrukin becomes the new capital, resulting in a downturn for Calah.

Modern times
1845-51: First modern excavations start under the leadership of A.H.Layard.





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By Tore Kjeilen