Today we visit ‘Yimit Matwate’ (The mother of all villages) as Alqosh is commonly referred to. After a bright and early bus pick up from the hotel, we arrive at the ADM headquarters in Alqosh for an official welcoming and a short presentation on the current demographics of Alqosh.
From there, we make our way to an Assyrian Aid Society sponsored pharmacy that serves all of Alqosh and surrounding villages. The pharmacist here has recently migrated from Baghdad where he owned and operated a pharmacy. The current unstable situation of central Iraq has brought him to Alqosh. He is one of the few that are able to practice thier profession once migrating to a village, and he has AAS to thank for that. The pharmacy is well equipped, yet as he explains, they are lacking in funds and need our support. We are all thankful to have visited this pharmacy, which enabled us to witness first hand where the donations to AAS are allocated and how they are benefiting our people in the Homeland.
An afternoon walk through the alleys of Alqosh, that lead to beautiful old stone homes each with their own courtyard makes it apparent why this picturesque village with all it’s history and culture is called ‘yimit matwate’.
We make our way to one of the icons of Alqosh and Iraq’s most visited monastery, Rabban Hurmiz. The scenery is surreal from this 640 AD monastery, which is situated on top of a mountain. A tour leads us through some of the prayer rooms and alters carved within the mountain by the monks that lived here since the time it was built.
We break for lunch that is prepared by the wonderful Assyrian Women Union’s Ain Sifne branch. To call this meal lunch is an understatement; this was a feast of all the delicious Assyrian dishes of biryani, assortment of stews, BBQ fish and fresh lakhma d’tanoora (stone baked bread)! The love and hospitality of the people of Ain Sifne was immeasurable.
Last stop, Khinis. The ancient canal head leading to the dam of Sennacherib which was constructed in four stages from 702 BC to 688 BC. Upon the completion of the dam, canals, weirs and aqueducts, the king celebrated by decorating the canal head, Khinis with reliefs and cuneiform writings. What a breathtaking feeling to be standing under a carving of a great king!