Kirkuk is a city in Iraq and the capital of Kirkuk Governorate.
It is located in the Iraqi governorate of Kirkuk, 236 kilometres (147 mi) north of the capital, Baghdad. Kirkuk city lies 83 km south of Arbil, 149 km southeast of Mosul, 97 km west of Sulaymaniyah, and 116 km northeast Tikrit
It stands on the site of the ancient Assyrian capital of Arrapha, which sits near the Khasa River on the ruins of a 5,000-year-old settlement (Kirkuk Citadel). Arrapha reached great importance under the Assyrians in the 10th and 11th centuries BC. Because of the strategic geographical location of the city, Kirkuk was the battle ground for three empires—the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Babylonia, and Media—which controlled the city at various times.
Kirkuk lies in a wide zone with an ethnically mixed population, which has moreover experienced dramatic demographic changes in the course of the twentieth century. Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs lay conflicting claims to this zone, and all have their historical accounts and memories to buttress their claims.
Historically, the city has always been considered by Kurds and Turkmens as a cultural capital. It was named the "capital of Iraqi culture" by the ministry of culture in 2010.
The city currently consists of Turks, Kurds, Arabs and some Assyrians.
The ancient name of Kirkuk was the Mittani Arraphka. During the Parthian era, a Korkura/Corcura (Ancient Greek: ???????) is mentioned by Ptolemy, which is believed to refer either to Kirkuk or to the site of Baba Gurgur three miles (5 km) from the city. Under Greek reign it was known as Karkha D-Bet Slokh, which means 'Citadel of the House of Seleucid' in Mesopotamian Aramaic, the lingua franca of the Fertile Crescent in that era.
The region around Kirkuk was known in Aramaic and Syriac sources as "Beth Garmai", which means the "place of bones" in a reference to bones of slaughtered Achaemenids which littered the plains after a decisive battle between