After two months of extensive work, the historical archeological park of the ancient Assyrian King Sennacherib in Duhok province's Khinis was officially opened to tourists.
The 2,700-year-old monument is regarded as the most extensive historical carving in Iraq. Restoration efforts were undertaken by a team from the University of Udine in Italy, in coordination with the Duhok Archeological Directorate, and the opening ceremony on Thursday was attended by the Italian ambassador and consul general in Baghdad and Erbil, as well as local Duhok province officials.
With the restoration, important artifacts of the Assyrian empire were saved from destruction, dedicated to King Sennacherib who ruled the Assyrian empire from 704 to 681 BC.
The Sennacherib Archaeological Park comprises a water wall, intricately carved depictions of Sennacherib, his family, and 22 others on a substantial rock surface, as well as statues of winged bulls.
"First of all, the opening of this park will make this place an important tourist destination. At the same time, it will be an important source of income for Duhok province," Bekas Brifkani, head of Duhok's archeological directorate, told Rudaw's Naif Ramadhan.
The University of Udine and Duhok's archeological directorate have worked together for almost a decade since 2012, spending three months of the year researching archeological sites in the region.
The University of Udine has so far recorded nearly 1,140 archeological sites in Duhok province, according to Brifkani.
In a similar ceremony in October last year, Kurdish and Italian officials opened another Assyrian archeological park in Duhok province's Faida area, the first of its kind across Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, in the presence of UNESCO.
The park is located in Faida, south of Dohuk and comprises 13 two-meter-height sculptures engraved on its walls dating back to the reign of the Assyrian king Sargon II (705-721 BC) and his son Sennacherib.