A brief history
Kirkuk is one of the northern provinces of Iraq which is populated by Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens, Chaldeans and Assyrians. The history of Kirkuk goes back some to five thousand years ago. Its very first known name was Arapha, with renaming it later with several names.
During the rule of Ottoman empire, Kirkuk was the capital of Sharazoor velayat. In its ancient history, Kirkuk had seen many wars over its control by the Babilyons, Assyrians and Medes due to its strategic location.
The origin and meaning of its current name ‘Kirkuk’ is disputed. Some return it to a Syriac phrase Kirkhad Bis Sloukh meaning Sloukh Citadel. Nonetheless, Kirkuk is considered an important city due to its historical remnants and current wealth.
Kirkuk is famous for oil in its current history. The province has many oil fields, the largest one is located inside the city of Kirkuk. Administratively, Kirkuk is divided over four districts, Kirkuk, Daquq, Dubis and Hawija.
Kirkuk is diverse in terms of religious factions and ethnic groups. Kurd, Arab, Turkmen and Syriacs ethnic groups live in Kirkuk dividing over Muslims, Chrisitans and some other religions.
In terms of geography, Kirkuk is located 240 kilometers north of Baghdad, surrounded by the Harmin Mountains in the west. Although accurate data is not available about the total current population, it is estimated to be 1.585.468.
The reason of its dense population is that the city is oil rich with a geopolitical importance. It is where the Kurdistan region and the federal Iraq meet.