Two Citizens of Kifri Donate Old Houses to Antiquities Department

The inner courtyard of the two houses donated by their owners to convert them into a museum visited by tourists, Kifri. Laila Ahmed

By Laila Ahmed in Kifri

Two citizens (Kurdish and Turkmen) from the Kifri district decided to donate their houses to the Kifri Antiquities Department to use them as archaeological landmarks for visitors.

The construction of the two houses dates back about 140 years built in an ancient style that attracts attention yet needs restoration to preserve them as archaeological landmarks in the district.

Sobhi Abdullah (Turkmen) and Ayoub Ali Chaychi (Kurdish) are neighbors and indigenous Kifri residents. One of them is 400 square meters and the other is 260.

“Our house was built during the period in which the old Caesarea of ​​Kifri was built. The house, which has an area of ​​400 square meters, belongs to me,” Abdullah said.

“A while ago I wanted to sell it for 12 million Iraqi dinars (USD8,000), but then I thought that this house of mine narrates an era in the history of Kifri and must remain, so I will not sell it now, even for 100 million dinars.”

It is important to preserve this history for future generations

Kifri District, whose founding in its current location dates back nearly two centuries, is considered one of the historical cities within the “disputed territories” between the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.

The center of the Kifri district includes many historical sites, such as the Kifri Saray, which was built in 1919 by the British, but now suffers from neglect, and archaeological sites and buildings belonging to the Ottoman governors and Kurdish princes can be seen.

Kifri, home to over 50,000 people, is one of the districts located within the disputed territories, part of Diyala province run by the Iraqi government, while administratively is one of the districts of the Garmian local administration.

Garmian administration which includes several districts and sub-districts between Sulaymaniyah and Diyala province is part of Sulaymaniyah Northern Province, one of the provinces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq KRI under the KRG.

“We decided to turn the two houses into a museum and we will hand over the keys to the Kifri Antiquities Department. Our goal is only to serve people and not profit,” Abdullah added.

“Our houses are located in one of the old neighborhoods of Kifri and the two houses are officially registered. We ask donors, the concerned authorities, the government, and organizations to restore them and turn them into a museum for tourists.”

According to Abdullah, the sections of the house were built with local stone and plaster and by local masters, so he stressed that “it is important to preserve this history for future generations.”

“Many neighbors appreciated our decision and are also considering taking a similar step.”

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