ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An ancient popular bathhouse in the heart of Erbil’s Citadel will be renovated based on its own old design, a member of the High Commission for the Erbil Citadel Revitalization (HCECR) affirmed on Friday.
The HCECR, which works to restore the historical heritage of the citadel, will lead the renovation with funds provided by the American World Monument Fund (WMF) and the US Consulate-General in Erbil, the member told Kurdistan 24.
The citadel’s bathhouse, also known as a Hamam, is more than 200 years old and dates back to the 18th century.
It consists of two main sections: one for use in the summer and the other for winter. Two large domes sit atop the Hamam's separate bathing halls. On the north side of the bathhouse is a 45-meter-deep well that reaches all the way to the base of the Citadel.
The last time the baths were renovated and mmaintained was in 1979.
The citadel was inscribed as a World Heritage site in 2014 by UNESCO, and is considered “one of the most dramatic and visually exciting cultural sites, not only in the Middle East, but also in the world.”
The Citadel is the oldest continuously occupied human settlement on Earth, dating back at least 6,000 years.
Restoration of the historic site began in 2010 when the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had allocated a US $13 million budget for the project, but the process was halted during the financial crisis which struck the Kurdistan Region in 2014.
Erbil Governor Nawzad Hadi hoped the implementation of the Erbil Citadel’s renovation master plan would resume soon, stating the project will transform the citadel into a major tourist destination for the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.
Editing by Nadia Riva