Winged Genie of Assyria

I was fascinated with the representations of winged genii carved on the walls of the palaces of Assyrian Kings. I saw them at the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad during my last visit along with Lamassu. The genie is a powerfully built man, with wings sprouting from his back. Winged genii are not to…

Love actually | Ancient couple found in Harappan grave

A few days ago, I read an interesting news that archaeologists have made a first of its kind discovery of a rare couple’s grave — the skeletal remains of a young man and woman, interred with his face turned towards her — has been excavated at the Harappan settlement at Rakhigarhi in Haryana, about 150km…

Ajanta Caves | Rock-cut cave monuments

The Ajanta Caves are 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 CE in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state of India. The first Buddhist cave monuments at Ajanta date from the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE. During the Gupta period (5th and 6th centuries CE), many more richly decorated caves were added to the original group. The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta, considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had a considerable artistic influence. The caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.

Iraqi Museum | Refuge for relics of the past

The Iraq Museum is one of the best archaeological museums in the world, containing the material evidence for the development of civilised human society from the very beginning of its history. The museum enshrines Iraq as the cradle of civilisation, the source of writing and statehood. Their collection covers over 5,000 years of Mesopotamian history.

Lamassu | Impressive Symbol for Mesopotamian Protection

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.

Masgouf | A smoky Iraqi fish that dates back to ancient times

Masgouf is one of the most popular Iraqi dishes – traditionally cooked on the shores of the river Tigris, a seasoned butterflied carp cooked next to an open fire. Originating in the basin of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, grilled fish has been around since the Babylonian times. It's one of those unique, exotic foods you just have to try in Baghdad.

The world’s oldest zero?

The Bakhshali manuscript

The origin of the symbol zero has long been one of the world’s greatest mathematical mysteries. New carbon dating research commissioned by the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries into the ancient Indian Bakhshali manuscript, held at the Bodleian, has revealed it to be hundreds of years older than initially thought, making it the world’s oldest recorded origin of the zero symbol that we use today.

Pache | A delicacy since the days of Mesopotamia

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.

Byblos | An oldest city in the world

Byblos is among the cities listed as candidates for the distinction of the oldest city in the world as it has been continuously inhabited for over 7,000 years. Carbon-dating tests have set the earliest age of settlement at Byblos around 7000 BCE, however it was not officially established as a city until sometime around 5000 BCE.

The oldest paycheck 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. The invention of bread and beer has been argued to be responsible for humanity’s ability to develop technology and build civilisation. The world’s oldest paycheck has apparently been discovered and it is claimed that it was spent on booze.