Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The city of two Springs

More information about Mosul:

The following part is copied from a site in the internet about Iraq.

" Mosul is Iraq's third largest city and is situated 396km north of Baghdad. The city was an important trade centre in the Abbasid era, because of its strategic position on the caravan route between India, Persia and the Mediterranean.

Mosul's chief export was cotton, and today's word muslin is derived from the name of the city.

In the 13th century, Mosul was almost completely destroyed by the Mongol invasion, but rebuilding and revival began under Ottoman rule.

Mosul was once a walled city, and the remains of part of the city wall are still in existence at Bashtabia castle, on the western bank of the Tigris.

An ethnically diverse city, Mosul has the highest proportion of Christians of all the Iraqi cities, and contains several interesting old churches, including the Clock and Latin Church, which contains some fine marble and stained glass. The Chaldean Catholic Church of Al-Tahira was built as a monastery in AD300 and became a church in 1600, when various additions were built.

The Mosul Museum contains many interesting finds from the ancient sites of Nineveh and Nimrud. The Mosul House is a beautiful, old-style building, constructed around a central courtyard and with an impressive facade of Mosul marble. It contains displays of Mosul life depicted in tableau form.

An interesting mosque in the city is the Mosque of Nebi Yunus, said to be the burial place of the Biblical Jonah. It is built on a mound beneath which are thought to be part of the ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh. Any attempt to verify this is impossible, however, as the site is sacred and cannot be disturbed.

The Great Nuriddine Mosque, built in 1172, has a famously crooked minaret standing 52 metres high. It is built of very elaborate brickwork and is named after its builder, Nuriddin Zanqi."

The nature of the city is very beautiful especially in spring when every thing around you is green and the smell of th air is the smell of the flowers which grow naturally in all the lands around the city.
The real spring lasts for about two months (March and April) , while the last month (May) is so hot that it is considered to be summer. The summer begins from (May to August); it is very hot and dry. They say here that the higher degree of temperature in the world was recorded in Mosul. This perhaps was in the middle of July, when the hot weather was untolerable.

What the people did in the past when there were no electricity?
The houses were built up of stones and Gypsum, the walls were about 40- 50 cm thick, the roof was built in the shape of dome about 4 - 5 meter high. There was some space in the middle of each house without a ceiling and all the rooms have windows opened to that space( I dont know the name of that space in English) but we call it "Hoosh" in arabic.
In this Hoosh, most of the times, there is small garden planted with flower and some trees. In the afternoon, this Hoosh is usually sprayed by water and it get too nice to sit there without fans or airconditions.
In addition almost in every house there is an under-ground room 3- 4 m deep and this is the the place where the people spend the afternoon and at noon. This deep room is called "Rah- Rah" I think the name is Turkish, in Arabic it is called "Sirdab"

In Septemper and October, the temperature starts to drop considerably and the air will smell like it does in spring, so the people called these months "the second spring". So we have two springs in mosul, and the city gained the name of "the City of two spring" or "Um Al-Rabeeain". Novemper is too cold so it is considered as a winter in addition to Decemper,January and February.

So we have 4 months winter, two months spring, 4 summer and 2 springs.The design of the houses is called "the eastern design" and the same is found in Syria specially Aleppo " Halab", which looks very much like Mosul. The summer is too dry, and nowadays we use evaporating water cooler to cool our houses.

In spring and winter we have plenty of thunder and rain, the interesting thing in spring is that, the clouds accumilate in few minutes and the rain starts heavely, then suddenly stops and the sun shines again as if there was no clouds in the sky. The sewage system in the city is very primative, most of the streets drown by the rain to be empty few hours later.

This is our city and we used to the type of life going on here, we don't complain of the hardness of the nature as far as it is from God.


strykeraunt said...

I wonder if what you call "hoosh" is called a courtyard? A courtyard is an open space enclosed by walls, within or adjoining a large building.

It really is interesting that Mosul recorded the hottest temperature in the world. My understanding of the weather in Iraq is that the northern part is cooler than the south. The rest of the information you provided is also very interesting.


Anonymous said...

is that kind of safe to go Mosul right now? Will the election be hold at end of this month? What do you think? Thanks! A Chinese-American.

Truth teller said...


yes the hoosh is a courtyard
thank you.

Anonymous said...

You really should get out and try and vote.
"It is possible for Iraqis to expect to choose their government, to choose their leadership, to choose their transitional assembly" this idea of voting is revolutionary. Those who don't vote accept all the penalties that come of it because they didn't do anything about it.

Oppression can only survive through silence.

Late last week, Air Force Brig. Gen. Erv Lessel, the deputy chief of staff for strategic communications, said there were two provinces that give the Americans "significant concern" - Anbar, which includes the city of Fallujah, and Nineveh, which includes Mosul. He said the Americans were taking "aggressive action" to make sure the vote can be held there.

Silence is the virtue of fools.

-Anonymous 3:20 or X:XX

Drae said...

Truth teller, I just found your blog and enjoyed reading all your posts. Thank you very much for adding a mature voice, and giving us some inside background. I am 54 so can appreciate how much you can remember back in the fifties.

As you post, I hope you will continue to say more about how things are now in Mosul. Many of us are reading different blogs from Iraq but as you know, Mosul is a "hot spot" and an important city. It would be good to have your perspective on how things are going there.

I believe the kind of writing the Iraqi bloggers are doing will eventually change the world more than the war that is going on in Iraq now.

Truth teller, our hearts are with you. It must be very hard to live in a city so under fire. I pray you and your family and friends stay safe and come out with better lives.

I'm placing a link to your blog on mine: Life More Abundant to help more people find you.

Truth teller said...

Anonymous 9:45 A Chinese-American
Sorry for the delay in answering your question!
It is definitely unsafe to visit Mosul now or in the near future. It is unsafe to stay in Mosul even for its own citizen.

Truth teller said...

Anonymous X:XX

"Air Force Brig. Gen. Erv Lessel, the deputy chief of staff for strategic communications,said the Americans were taking "aggressive action" to make sure the vote can be held there."

beleive me, what ever action they take. It will still be unsafe for any one who try to vote. In particular if he is a well known person in the city.
The american took an aggressive actions to calm down the situation. But after 18 months since the occupation the change from bad to worse.

Anonymous said...

Thank you answer my question!
Hope all the residents in Mosul will be safe ann have chance to VOTE! Best Wishes to you and your family!
I also made a link to your blog. :-)
__A Chinese-American

tarrach said...

Greetings TruthTeller,

First, I too would like to thank you for taking the time to write. I have found your historical and cultural prospective to be very interesting. I am curious though about several things. 1) Do you or many of the people you know want to vote? Would you vote if it were safe? 2) How are the terrorists able to keep people from voting? How would they know that any one person voted? Are there so many people providing the terrorists with information that they would be able to learn if someone voted or not? Is there a fear that if you voted you would be murdered afterwards, or are you primarily afraid that some suicide bomber might join the voting line behind you and blow themselves up? 3) Who do _you_ think the terrorists are? From a commentary on Al Jazerra, there is some thought that most of the terrorists are Saddam’s secret police who have allied with Islamic extremists. From what I have seen, I would think there were too many to just be those two groups, and I would guess that there are also a fair number of regular Iraqis who are simply being paid to help without any real ideological conviction. Am I way off base with this theory? Your perspective would be very enlightening and appreciated. Thanks, and be well!

DagneyT said...

I am glad that A Star of Mosul found your site, and sent me over. Fascinating historical narrative. I just hope and pray that the situation will improve for Mosul after the election. If it turns out that you cannot vote in this election, due to the situation, be at peace in knowing that there will be others in the free and democratic future that you WILL be able to vote. The election in 14 regions, save the hotspots, will break the back of the terror network there, I believe.

Mister Ghost said...

When you say Mosul is unsafe, don't you mean the Arabic section of Mosul? I would think the Kurdish neighborhood or enclave is a lot safer than the
Arab section, since it's heavily patrolled by the Peshmerga and local Kurds watching out for insurgent terrorists, and there's not likely to be very many terrorist insurgent supporters/sympathizers there, as there are in the Arabic section.

I bet when it gets really hot in Mosul -- and it sounds like it really gets hot -- you head up to
Kurdistan with the missus and the two daughters that live with you and check out a few waterfalls and the local amusement park, or hang out in Mosul by the river visiting the Iraqi version of a casino.

Truth teller said...


Thank you for your greetings.

In response to your questions, the answer is:
1- Yes I, and many of the people I know want to vote. And certainly will vote if it is safe.

2- The terrorists wrote a warning on the wall in the main streets, on the walls of schools and some other places threatening to kill or behead anyone who'll vote. this is imposssible of coarse if a large number of people will vote. But not far before, they warned the people from cooperating with the Americans, since that time we hear on daily bases a person had been killed because he worked with the Americans or a translater was killed because sometime in the past, he worked to the Americans. They know everybody but nobody knows them.

Perhaps they just watch the process and write the name of the people who vote to kill them later. I personally believe there is NO iraqi suicide-bomber.

3- There are many possibilities, Saddam's old men, secret police or previous army members who found themselves without a source of living, and the can't do any thing except fighting. And maybe any one who counldn't found a job to live from.
I really believe that Islamic jihadists are different, they don't kill innocent people, they dont put bombs near schools, and don't attacks police stations and don't kill iraqi police. (This belief is made on the basis, that I am a muslims and know how muslims think). If this was proved to be false, then I will be sure that those peoples are not real Muslims, and use the name of Islam to cheat the others.

Truth teller said...

Mister Ghost..

when I say Mosul is unsafe, I mean the whole city.
BTW ther is NO arabic and kurd sections in Mosul.
Although the kurds are minority the are situated in most neighborhoods. there is NO pure kurdish section, there are no peshmerga or local kurds watching out for insurgent as you say, I don't know from where you get these wrong informations. there are some areas where the kurds are present in relativley high percentage.
The peshmerga are present only as part of the Iraqi National Guards, and they are (with the ING) very busy in doing there jobs and have no time to look after the other kurds in the city.

The second half of your comment is absolutely correct.

hej said...

Hello TT,

I really hope that you and your family will make it through the next few years with minimal long term scars...I can't imagine what it would be like to have my city turned into a war zone. The feelings of impatience and dread must be overwhelming.
I’ve been reading Iraqi Blogs for quite some time and this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to write. As a 45 year-old African- American my take on this country and its latest adventure is quite a bit different than most who’ll post in your comment section. At 17 I joined the Marines, my father was a Marine and I knew if I didn’t get out of my neighborhood it was jail or early death for me. When I left boot camp I was a killing machine no thought just turn the switch. I read rise and fall of the third Reich while in the Marines and history has been my passion since. For me the most transformative book was invisible man it’s a great book and lends real insight into my country. Something Shirer states in the rise and fall is this is one the few time when history was written with first person papers….no spin the book lends great insight into power how its obtained and held. The Nixon tapes are another source of truth. Before this war started I read Quixote to try and understand my fellow countrymen I felt we were headed into a quagmire but I had no idea it would be this bad unfortunately I don’t feel we going to leave before my countries future is out of our control. My main purpose in writing was to say how important some of the Iraqi bloggers have been to me….their descent into chaos is painful to me and I wanted to say how much I pray the come out of this adventure whole.

Aunt Najma and her sister, Riverbend and Faiza I wish I could hold them and tell them that everything will be ok but alas...oh another cool book is war is a racket by a Marine general

慢慢來 said...