Araden ('Ara'den)
Coordinates: 37°6′20.24″N 43°19′6.68″E / 37.1056222°N 43.3185222°E / 37.1056222; 43.3185222Coordinates: 37°6′20.24″N 43°19′6.68″E / 37.1056222°N 43.3185222°E / 37.1056222; 43.3185222
Country  Iraq
Autonomous Region  Kurdistan[1]
Province Dohuk Governorate
  Type Lijna, Committee
  Mukhtar Toma Gidde
  Total 18 km2 (7 sq mi)
Elevation 1,723 m (5,653 ft)
  Total 200+ (estimate)

Araden (Syriac: ܐܪܕܢ) is an Assyrian village in Dohuk Governorate of Iraqi Kurdistan. It is located approximately 20-30 kilometers (12–19 miles) east of the city of Zakho The village of Einishk lies a few miles to the east, and the Kurdish village of Bamerne is to the west, while Sarsing can be seen to the south. The name Araden means "Land of Eden" in old Aramaic. The village is vast, spanning over 18 kilometers and containing more than 150 homes, 3 churches and a cemetery.[2]

Two of the oldest churches in Christianity, Mart Shmoni[3] and Sultana Mahdokht,[4] (which was established in 325 AD) are located in Araden. A newer church known as Libbat Isho was established in the 1980s as well.[5]

A forest in Araden


The inhabitants of Araden are Chaldean Catholic-Assyrians, and have continuously inhabited the land for thousands of years. The village is relatively famous among its neighboring towns and villages for having many green-eyed and red haired people. as a testament to the ancient and isolated nature of the village, The inhabitants speak Neo-Aramaic with a unique accent closer to Old Aramaic.

There are three main families in this village: the Kasha family, the Rayes family, and the Sana family. It is believed that these three families originated from villages in the Tyari region of Turkey, although the settlement in Araden is known to have existed for thousands to years prior to their arrival, as is indicated by the presence of the ancient churches in the village. The head of the village has traditionally been the Chaldean Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Amadiya. One of these Bishops, Francis Daoud, is famous for his bravery and leadership during the Assyrian Genocide by saving the Christians living in Northern Iraqi villages through heated negotiations with the Turks, using his influence as a Bishop to save them from death. He was confirmed Bishop February 24, 1910 and served until his death on October 1, 1939.[6][7]

During the 1959 Kurdish-Iraqi War the people of Araden gave land to Kurdish refugees during the Kurdish rebellions. Eventually the Kurds formed a second village in Araden called "Aradenlaya", l where Kurdish families were hidden from the Iraqi military. However, The military eventually caught on to the location of the village during the first Kurdish-Iraqi War and bombed it, disbursing the Kurdish refugees to other villages. Today, those families now mainly live in the Kurdish town of Qadish, which lies about 7 kilometers east of Araden.

There is a large community of people in the Assyrian Diaspora from Araden in Metro Detroit, specifically (Warren, Sterling Heights, and Troy) Michigan. Every year the people of Araden gather and return to the village on January 12 when there is a celebration for Sultana Mahdokht, called Dukhrana. This is a big event in the Assyrian community of Michigan, with thousands of people attending. Also every year on 15 June, Aradnayeh get together in Shelby Township, for a large celebration at the Stony Creek Metropark, known as a "Shera".


The plains of lower Araden
Overlooking the eastern forest from the south side


Most of the village is covered by fruit and nut bearing trees. To the north, higher up on the mountain towards a region of the land called "Gozaneh", large walnut trees grow around one of the springs that comes from the mountain. Loquat trees grow on the land below Gozaneh, along with quince, citron, orange, apple, and lemon trees. Around the residential lands, mulberry, blackberry, raspberry, and plum trees grow towards the lower edge of the village. Down in the valley towards the church Sultana Mahdokht, grows an abundance of pecan trees. However the entire region of Araden is covered in almond trees. The non fruit bearing trees include Cyprus, Cedar, Pine, Oak and spruce. In recent years, the Kurdistan Regional Government has banned the cutting of trees without a license, so these trees are beginning to grow in abundance all over the region.[8]


After the Iraqi Kurdish government rose, many environmental protection laws were passed in the region to help restore the wildlife to the way it was before the wars that took place. Since then, the wildlife population has risen greatly due to better habitat conditions . Hedgehogs, frogs, boars, foxes, bats, bears, and wolves are just some of the kinds of animals that inhabit the stretch of land.


External links

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