2000 Year Old Monastery Found in Iraq’s Najaf
|November 13, 2010||Filled under All Dinar Trade Articles|
Azzaman, November 10, 2010
An ancient monastery dating to the 1st century A.D. has been discovered in the religious city of Najaf, an Antiquities Department official says.
Nazar al-Nafakh, Najaf’s leading archaeologist, said the monastery was revealed as bulldozers were leveling ground for Najaf’s new airport.
“It is about 2000 years old,” he said.
So far Nafakh has no clue of the name of the monastery, but Christianity was practiced widely in the area of Najaf south of Baghdad at the time.
The province of Najaf, of which the religious city of Najaf is the capital, has several monasteries but most of them are merely heaps of debris.
A team of Iraqi excavators under archaeologist Shakir Abdulzahra, is working on the site.
“We have brought to surface the monastery’s foundations and have evidence that there were at least 54 rooms in it,” Abdulzahra said.
Ancient monasteries are common historical landmarks in Iraq.
Iraq was predominantly Christian until late 13th century.
Monasteries and Churches were present almost everywhere in the country, particularly in central and southern Iraq.
Today there are a handful of ancient monasteries most of them still inhabited by monks and situated in the restive province of Nineveh of which the city of Mosul is the capital.
At least three of them – Mar (saint) Hormuz, Mar Matti and Mar Behnam – have architectural evidence that dates them back to the 4th century A.D.
The monastery in Najaf will the most ancient ever discovered in Iraq.
Its discovery comes at a time Iraq is losing its Christian minority.
There are few Christians in southern and central Iraq as most of them have either fled the country or escaped to safer areas.
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