The Ahwar of Southern Iraq: Refuge of Biodiversity and the Relict Landscape of the Mesopotamian Cities
The Ahwar is made up of seven components: three archaeological sites and four wetland marsh areas in southern Iraq. The archaeological sites form part of the remains of the Sumerian cities and settlements that developed in southern Mesopotamia between the 4th and the 3rd millennium BCE in the marshy delta of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The cities and archaeological site are:
- Ur. It is said to be the birthplace of Biblical patriarch Abraham.
- Tell Eridu.
The Ahwar of Southern Iraq – also known as the Iraqi Marshlands – are unique, as one of the world’s largest inland delta systems, in an extremely hot and arid environment. It’s abundant with animal and plant life. The area is a key spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, and is home to over 40 bird species. Migrating birds between Siberia and Africa also use the marshes as a waystation.
Dubbed by some as the “Biblical Garden of Eden”, these marshlands have a colourful yet beautiful history that dates back a thousand years. Civilizations have been known to rise, fall, and fluorish on the Ahwar’s banks. As they cover some 20,000 square kilometres, and have played a key role in the development of not only people and culture in the region but also wildlife.