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Conservation works in Babylon and Nineveh. Part II
The ruins of Nineveh which date back to the time of its flourishment, I.e. 7th c. B.C., are the site where investigations and excavation works have been carried OUI for over one and a half century.
There are some older inaccessible layers of ancient culture from about 6000 B.C., occupying mainly the hills of Koiyunjik and Nabi Younis.
After moving the capital from Assur, the city was rebuilt and expanded by Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.). Apart from palaces, temples and road system, fortifications were erected, being composed of irregular quadrilateral rampart with fifteen gales as well as outer rampart in eastward direction. A large channel and irrigation system ensured water supply to the city and neighbouring areas.
At that lime, the city had about 200 thousand inhabitants. It occupied the area of eight sq. km, surrounded by 8 km long fortifications. Despite such strong fortifications the city was conquered and then destroyed by the Medes and Babylonians in 612 B.C.
However, on the ruins of the city, there still existed a settlement on the Nabi Younis hill, and on the opposite high side of the Tigris, The Town of MosuJ was built. For over two thousand years the ruins of Nineveh had been used as building material, and the bed of the Tigris had much moved away from the walls of the city. In the 20th century, especially in the second half, a rapid housing development has been taking place over the central pan of Nineveh and the area around the Tigris, and, in consequence, new civilizational facilities have brought about hazards 10 the ruins of Nineveh and the Old Town of Mosul.
A master plan for the Greater Mosul was worked out in 1976, the aim of which was 10 control the development and 10 protect historical complexes of the site of Nineveh and the town of Mosul.
After the period of excavations and robbery of the works of an al the beginning of the 20th century, the Iraqi authorities had undertook essential conservation and exploration works, especially starting from 1965. These included: restitution of outer elevations of gate complexes, as well as investigation and exposition of the palace relicts on the Koiyunjik hill. In order to carry out exploratory investigation of the Nabi Younis it appeared necessary to remove shoddy housing in this area.
The inner side of ramparts and hills, wherein the gates are hidden, remains unchanged, preserving romantic landscape. About 1.3 km of the walls and four gales have been reconstructed so far (Nergal's - 1941, Adad's, Mashki and Shamash's gates - 1965-1976) and exposition of the ruins of Sennacherib's palace organized.