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Arbil

Arbil (Hewlêr in Roman-alphabet Kurdish) (also written Erbil, or Irbil) (Akkadian: Arba-ilu; Arabic: اربيل‎ Arbīl; Kurdish: هه‌ولێر‎ Hewlêr; Sumerian: Urbilum; Syriac-Aramaic: Arbaelo) is, with a population of approximately 1.3 million (2009), the fourth largest city in Iraq after Baghdad, Basra and Mosul. It is located 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of Mosul, and is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Urban life at Arbil can be dated back to at least 6000 BC, and it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. At the heart of the city is the ancient Citadel of Arbil. The Hurrians were the first to establish Urbilum and expand their rule to the rest of northern Mesopotamia. The city has since been under the rule of many regional powers, including the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Arabs, and the  Ottomans. Arbil's archaeological museum houses a large collection of pre-Islamic artefacts, and is a center for archaeological projects in the area.

Etymology

The name Arbil was mentioned in Sumerian holy writings (c. 2000 BC) as Urbilum, Urbelum or Urbillum, and it may be Sumerian in origin. It is thought to originate from Sumerian UR (city) + BELA (high) meaning the city located in the upper area. The initial ar element also appears in a number of Hurrian place names.

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