Winged genie is the conventional term for a recurring motif in the iconography of Assyrian sculpture. Winged genii are usually bearded male figures sporting birds’ wings. The genie symbolised both protection and fertility — its role was to safeguard and replenish the ancient kingdom of Assyria.
The Lamassu is a celestial being from ancient Mesopotamian religion bearing the head of a man, the wings of an eagle, and the hulking body of a bull, sometimes with the horns and the ears of a bull. The Lamassu combines the strength of a bull, the freedom of an eagle, and the intelligence of a human being.
Iraqi cuisine has developed over the course of a long and rich history. Pache, a veritable witch’s brew of sheep offal is celebrated as rare delicacy, having its origin in early Mesopotamian civilisation. Another charm that adds on to the wacky tinge of this adventure food is that is made with a Sheep’s (or goat’s or lamb’s) head, the stomach and its hooves (cleaned and processed under sanitary measures) boiled slowly, mashed up and served with khubz (flatbread) sunken in hot, watery and oily broth.
Nowruz is a Farsi word, with “Now-” meaning new, and “-ruz” meaning “morning light” signifying the coming of a new day. Nowruz originates from ancient Zoroastrian religious traditions and is marked as the beginning of the new year. No one knows exactly how far back Nowruz dates. The best estimates sit somewhere in the range of 2,500 to 3,000 years. There are various stories regarding Nowruz’ origins, but based on Kurdish mythology, Kawa Asinger, a blacksmith bravely ended the tyrannical reign of King Zahak aka Dehak on this day.
A wetland in southeast Iraq, thought to be the biblical Garden of Eden — the Ahwar of southern Iraq, has now become a UNESCO world heritage site. Fed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the marshlands of Mesopotamia are spawning grounds for Gulf fisheries and home to bird species such as the sacred ibis. They also provide a resting spot for thousands of wildfowl migrating between Siberia and Africa.
Kleicha is a well known Iraqi cookie, made typically on occasions such as Eid. It is considered to be the national cookie of Iraq and no feast, religious or otherwise, is complete without it. It is loved by all Iraqi groups, including Muslims, Christians, Chaldeans, Assyrians, and Kurds. These cookies are called “kileche” in Assyrian, while they are known as “kleicha” in Arabic.
The world’s oldest paycheck has apparently been discovered and it was cashed in beer! Beer is one of the world’s oldest prepared beverages, possibly dating back to the early Neolithic or 9500 BC, when cereal was first farmed and is recorded in the written history of ancient Iraq and ancient Egypt.