For the record, I'm neither an academic nor a scholar, and admittedly, I've never been to many of the places posted here. So if someone should find a mistake, or believe I omitted something, please feel free to email me and I'll correct it.

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Sunday, January 17, 2021


Zin Valley, Negev Desert, courtesy, Wikipedia
The Negev is the desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. Its largest city and administrative capital, located in the area’s northern half, is Beersheba (pop. 209,687) (also see posting on Beersheba). At its southern end is the Gulf of Aqaba and the resort city of Eilat (also see posting on Eilat). It contains several development towns, including DimonaArad and Mitzpe Ramon, as well as a number of small Bedouin towns, including Rahat, Tel as-Sabi and Lakyah. There are also several kibbutzim, including Revivim and Sde Boker; the latter became the home of Israel's first Prime MinisterDavid Ben-Gurion, after his retirement from politics. The Negev covers roughly half of Israel, approximately 4,700 sq mi. It forms an inverted triangle shape whose western side is contiguous with the desert of the Sinai Peninsula, and whose eastern border is the Aravah valley. The Negev’s unique geological features including the craterlike makhteshim (box canyons), which are unique to the region: Makhtesh RamonHaMakhtesh HaGadol, and HaMakhtesh HaKatan. The Negev Hills compose the northern and central hill regions, the Paran Plateau, and the Eilat Mountains.

A small population of Arabian leopards, an endangered animal in the Arabian peninsula, survives in the southern Negev. Other carnivora found in the area are the caracal, the Arabian wolf, the golden jackal and the marbled polecat. The Aravah mountain gazelle, a subspecies of the mountain gazelle, manages to survive but the dorcas gazelle is more numerous with some 1,000–1,500. Some 350 to 500 Nubian ibex live in the Negev Highlands and in the Eilat Mountains. The Negev shrew is a rare species of mammal found only in Israel. The Negev tortoise is a critically endangered species that currently lives only in the sands of the western and central Negev Desert. Animals that were reintroduced after extinction in the wild or local extinction respectively are the Asiatic wild ass, the Persian fallow deer, and the Arabian oryx. The Negev is the only place where the Arabian oryx can flourish because nowhere else in the Middle East can poaching be controlled. 

According to the Book of Genesis chapter 13, Abraham lived for a while in the Negev after being banished from Egypt (Genesis 13:1,3). During the Exodus journey to the Promised Land, Moses sent twelve scouts into the Negev to assess the land and population (Numbers 13:17). During the time of Joshua, the northern part of the Negev became the southern extent of Israelite settlement in Canaan and the area was allotted to the tribes of Judah and Shimon which was an enclave of Judah in the southwest. Kings Saul and David fended off the Amalekites in the area. The entirety of the Negev was later part of the Kingdom of Solomon, who, as with his successors as kings of Judah, set up fortresses to guard the routes to Elath and Egypt. In the 9th century BCE, development and expansion of mining in both the Negev and Edom coincided with the rise of the Assyrian Empire. In the 8th century BCE, Beersheba became the region's capital and center for trade. Uzziah made the greatest effort to develop the Negev, maintaining the communications with Elath through this region, and, apart from extending agriculture (ii Chron. 26:10), built large fortresses at Kadesh (see posting on Kadesh Barnea), Arad, Ḥorvat 'Uza, and other sites. After the return from Babylonian exile, Jewish connections with the Negev in the post-biblical period were tenuous. The region’s northern part was held by King Alexander Yannai (Jannaeus), a Maccabee of the House of Hasmon.

Since the Arab conquest in the 7th century and especially since the Crusader conquests in the 12th and 13th centuries, the region was almost abandoned and became a desert wasteland save for the major coastal cities and major Jewish centers of Gaza and Rafiah (see posting on Gaza) and a few scattered Bedouin tribes. In later centuries, other Bedouin tribes migrated to the Negev area, some were of Jewish ancestry such as the el Huzayel clan. At the earliest stages of the modern Jewish return to the land, the Negev was visualized as a possible area of settlement by men like Z.D. Levontin, who aimed at founding a settlement south of Gaza (1881–2). Like other Jews at the beginning of the 20th century, however, they had to abandon attempts at purchasing holdings, mainly because Bedouin vendors could not produce title deeds entered in the land registry for the tracts they offered. Attention was again directed to the Negev when Theodor Herzl took up Davis Trietsch's proposal of the El-Arish Project (1903), and a daring plan for a Jewish-Bedouin alliance was also put forward. After World War i, veterans of the Jewish Legion tried to settle on state land offered by the British authorities near the tell of Arad, but they despaired when no water was found.

Although historically, the Negev area south of Beersheba, was part of a separate region, it was added to the proposed area of Mandatory Palestine, on July 10, 1922, having been conceded by British representative St John Philby, British representative of Eastern Palestine (aka Trans-Jordan). After the end of the 1930s, the Jewish National Fund took over, securing and enlarging scattered holdings in the Negev which had been acquired beforehand by Jewish individuals. Thus the three "observation villages"–Gevulot, Beit Eshel, and Revivim–were set up in 1943. In 1946, in response to the British-created Morrison–Grady Plan which would have allotted the area to an Arab state, the Jewish Agency enacted the 11 points in the Negev plan to begin local Jewish settlement. Four more communities were established preceding the outbreak of the War of Independence in December 1947. All these outposts were modestly supplied with water from two pipelines drawn from the Nir Am and Gevar'am wells in the southern Coastal Plain. As a result, the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine allotted a majority of the area to the Jewish State which later became Israel. During the War of Independence, Israel secured its Negev allotment and then some. The one exception was the area in and around Gaza City, which became known as the Gaza Strip. Since the end of the war in 1949, the region’s population has grown exponentially. In the early years of the state, it absorbed many of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, with the Israeli government setting up many development towns, such as AradSderot and Netivot. Whereas the Negev Bedouin population, of which about 15,000 remained in the Negev after 1948, and increased to about 27,000 in 1969, Jewish settlement was the principal factor causing the population density especially in the Beersheba subdistrict to increase. Deep well drillings in the 1960s yielded water in previously unsuspected quantities.

In the late 60s, a group of African-Americans from Chicago who claimed to be descended from the ancient Israelites, settled in Dimona. Today, the Hebrew Israelites are a vibrant community, living mainly in Dimona, who contribute greatly to Israeli society in spite of the many obstacles the Israeli government puts in their way. In the past two decades, the Negev has also become home to many of the Israel Defense Forces' major bases. Blueprint Negev is a Jewish National Fund project introduced in 2005. The $600 million project hopes to attract 500,000 new Jewish residents to the Negev by improving transportation infrastructure, establishing businesses, developing water resources and introducing programs to protect the environment. A planned artificial desert river, swimming pools and golf courses raised concerns among environmentalists. As of 2010, the Negev was home to some 630,000 people (or 8.2% of Israel's population).

In October 2012, global travel guide publisher Lonely Planet rated the Negev second on a list of the world's top ten regional travel destinations for 2013, noting its current transformation through development.

Today, the Negev is home to such institutions as Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, whose faculties include the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research and the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies, both located on the Midreshet Ben-Gurion campus adjacent to Sde Boker.

Other sites include: Ben-Gurion National Solar Energy CenterAshalim and the Ashalim Power Station, the Rotem Industrial Complex outside of Dimona, the Negev Nuclear Research Center and reactor, Yatir Forest and Winery, Carmel’s boutique winery at Ramat Arad, the Tishbi Vineyards at Sde Boker, the Barkan Vineyard at Tel Arad, Carmey Avdat - Israel's first solar-powered winery, the Ḥaluẓah, Shunrah, and Agur dunes, Ne'ot HovavḤaẓevah, Avronah, Yotvatah, Sa'īdiyin, Wadi el-Na'am, Naḥal Besor, Naḥal Be'er Sheva, Naḥal Ḥevron, Naḥal Gerar, Naḥal Paran, the Dead Sea (see posting on the Dead Sea), Mt. Ramon, Mt. Sagi, Mt. Loẓ, Mt. Arif, the Sheluḥat Noẓah ridge, the Edom Mountains, Zin Canyon, and the Sedom salt flats.

Friday, January 8, 2021


Mount Nebo BW 6.JPG
view of Mount Nebo, courtesy, Wikipedia
Mount Nebo is located in the mountain range of Abarim, about 2,330 feet above sea level. It borders the Moab Plateau on the east side of the Jordan River opposite Jericho in, what is today, Arab-occupied Eastern Palestine – a.k.a. Jordan. It lies five miles southwest of Heshbon, two miles northwest of Madeba, and nine miles east of the northern end of the Dead Sea.

The Mount Nebo area was where the Israelites encamped on the last stage of their journey during the Exodus (Deut. 32:49). Before the rise of the leadership of Joshua, Moses had already allotted the area to the tribe of Reuben, on condition that they assist their fellow Israelite tribes in conquering the Land of Canaan on the west side of the River. According to Deut. 32:49, it was from Mt. Nebo, that Moses was able to survey the Promised Land before he passed away on this spot. Then god buried him there, but his exact resting place remains unknown to this day. According to Jewish tradition, this was because the priests wished to prevent his resting place from becoming a place of worship so as not to take away from worship of god alone. After the conquest of Canaan, the tribe of Reuben took over its territory and established the town of Nebo near its namesake mountain, becoming the abode of the family of Bela (i Chron. 5:8) for many centuries. But at the same time, ownership of the area was often hotly contested between Israel and Moab. When the united kingdom of Israel split in to, the tribe of Reuben, including the Mount Nebo area, became part of the northern kingdom of Israel. It remained an Israelite possession until the revolt of the Moabite king Mesha against the house of Omri of the northern kingdom. On his stele (lines 14ff.) Mesha describes his conquest of the town of Nebo, the destruction of the sanctuary of the God of Israel before the Moabite god Chemosh and the sacrifice of 7,000 men, boys, women, girls, and maid-servants. The prophets Isaiah (15:2) and Jeremiah (48:1, 22) mention Nebo among the cities of Moab in their descriptions of the "burdens" on that land. According to 2 Maccabees (2:4–7), the prophet Jeremiah hid the tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant in a cave there during the Babylonian invasion and conquest in 586 BCE. After the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, Mount Nebo and the surrounding area became a place of Christian pilgrimage. A small Aramaic-speaking monastery was built on the mountain which they called “Siagha”, an Aramaic word meaning monastery. Historian Eusebius refers to the town of Nebo as a ruined town and during the Byzantine period, the Theotokos Chapel was built on the site on the mountain where many Christians suppose Moses was buried. This chapel was first mentioned in an account of a pilgrimage made by a lady Aetheria in 394 CE. The Diakonikon Baptistery was built in 597. Both were, long ago, abandoned. When the Arabs came to the area, they named this mountain “Jebel Naba”.

In 1927, a group attempt to find the Ark of the Covenant on Mount Nebo, led by the explorer and adventurer AF Futterer, President of the American Jerusalem Bible Institute of Los Angeles, did not materialize due to Futterer’s failure to get the proper permits from the British and Arab occupation authorities. So he ended up going alone. His trip turned out to be fruitless but he did find a human skeleton in one of the caves on the mountain. No one thought much of it at the time. A few years later, the Franciscan church, represented by the Franciscan Bible School in Jerusalem, attempted to continue Futterer’s work and, in 1930, offered to buy the site from the Bedouin tribe that owned it. Negotiations for purchase were long and drawn out but by 1932, Mount Nebo finally came under Franciscan ownership and archaeological expeditions began immediately. Their intention was to make it a tourist destination. By 1933, their expeditions began to bear fruit. They discovered the remains of the Byzantine-era church as well as the monastery. Several mosaics were also discovered including a mosaic of the Temple in Jerusalem located in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin, and also a Samaritan inscription. The Moses Memorial that houses the Byzantine mosaics was closed for renovation from 2007 to 2016. It reopened on October 15, 2016. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021


ruins of ancient Naveh (Nawa), courtesy, Wikipedia
The city of Nawa, originally Naveh, is today located in the Arab-occupied part of the Golan Heights, just a few miles east of the Israeli portion of the Golan in the Arab-occupied country of Syria. The Arab occupation authorities have made this town, with a population, as of this writing, of over 59,000 Arab settlers, a part of their so-called province of Daraa Governorate. (The town of Daraa is named after the ancient Jewish town of Edre’i, located some 20 miles to the south.) As with the majority of places in the Arab-occupied territories of the Middle East and North Africa, including Naveh, most, or all, vestiges of a Jewish presence, ancient or otherwise, have been mostly obliterated (with the enthusiastic support of the United Nations and the EU).

During the time of Joshua, Naveh, as with the entirety of today’s governorate, was allotted to the eastern half of the Israelite tribe of Menashe. It was probably identical to the town of Nobah, mentioned in Numbers 32:42. It supposedly became the burial place of Shem, son of Noah, ancestor of the Shemiim, the Semites, and was also known as the dwelling place of the Hebrew prophet Job. Naveh had been a mostly Jewish hamlet for centuries but experienced a period of immense growth during the Roman and Byzantine eras. The city was mentioned in the 3rd century “Mosaic of Tel Rehov” (in the Bet She’an area of the Jordan Valley). In the 5th century, it was a seat of Torah learning and Rabbi Tanhuma bar Abba, amora of the 5th generation, lived there. Naveh was also referred to by the Byzantine Christian traveler and geographer George of Cyprus in his "Descriptio orbis romani" in the 7th century.  It still contained a small Jewish community in the Middle Ages, but eventually, the Jews moved away. In the early 19th century, two German archaeologists discovered the ancient synagogue in the area and began to study its lintel above the doorway entrance. It was found that this lintel had been dated to the fourth to fifth centuries. In later years, archaeologists would come across numerous other findings, notably the discovery of basalt architectural artifacts dating to the Byzantine period and bearing Jewish symbols—most prominently the menorah. 

Friday, January 1, 2021


Aerial view of Nahalal
aerial view of Nahalal, courtesy Wikipedia
Nahalal is a moshav in northern Israel, just south of the Nahal Shimron and roughly 9 miles west of Nazareth. It is governed by the Jezreel Valley Regional Council. In 2019 it had a population of 930.

Nahalal is best known for its general layout, as designed by Richard Kauffmann: slightly oval, similar to a spoke wheel with its public buildings at the "hub" and individual plots of agricultural land radiating from it like spokes with symmetrically placed roads creating eight equal sectors, an inner ring of residential buildings, and an outer ring road.

During Biblical times, Nahalal was allotted to the tribe of Zvulun but designated a Levitical city belonging to the Merari clan. Among the archaeological artifacts found in the area, was an ancient Jewish inscription of the word "Sabbath" written on a rock. In the Talmud (tj, Meg. 1:1, 70a), Nahalal is identified with Mahalol, which corresponds to the present-day Arab settlement of Ma’alul. In 1850, explorer Rabbi Yehoseph Schwarz visited the area and definitely identified this settlement with the Biblical Nahalal.

In 1921, the land was sold by the Sursock family of Beirut, to the Zionist, Palestine Land Development Company, soon to transfer ownership to the Jewish National Fund. Nahalal’s founders immigrated to Palestine from Eastern Europe as part of the Second and Third Aliyah between 1904 and 1914, at the end of Ottoman rule. They saw that the allotted land contained small rivulets which transformed the plain into marshes that attracted malaria-spreading mosquitoes. Heeding the warnings of experts, such as Dr. Hillel Yaffe, the Jewish pioneers temporarily settled on a nearby hill, near Ma'lul. The swamps were drained and the pioneers, eventually, came down from the hill and divided the former swampland into 80 equal parcels, 75 to the members and 5 to the Nahalal agricultural school. They had a somewhat different ideology from the socialist kibbutz model where everything was collectively owned. Thus, Nahalal became the first moshav ovdim (workers' cooperative agricultural settlement) in Mandatory Palestine where individual farms were privately owned

In 1929, a Girls' Agricultural Training Farm was established at Nahalal by Hana Meisel of the Women's International Zionist Organization, and in the 1940s it became a co-educational farming school of the Youth Aliyah movement.

More water became available in the 1930s from the *Mekorot regional network and deep wells were drilled in the vicinity. Farming then became more intensive, fruit orchards were added, and existing branches expanded. The main farming branches, aside from the fruit orchards, were dairy cattle, poultry, flowers, and field crops.

Other major sites in Nahalal include: the Cheese with Ephrat culinary school; Nahalal High School; the Galilee International Management Institute; the public pool; the Bet Haam cultural center; Danieli Olive Oil grocery store; Lavido Cosmetics; and Nahalal Junction.

Sunday, December 27, 2020


Maoz Zion, oldest neighborhood of Mevaseret Zion,
view from Castel National Park, courtesy, Wikipedia

Mevaseret Zion is a town consisting of 15 neighborhoods with a population of over 24,000. It is located on the northwestern outskirts of Jerusalem on a mountain ridge over 2400 feet above sea level and straddles both sides of the Jerusalem–Tel Aviv highway. It is adjacent to the town of Motza (some information of which can be found within this blog’s posting of “JerusalemCorridor”). The older neighborhoods/townships of Maoz Zion and Mevaseret Yerushalayim are under the jurisdiction of one local council. The newer neighborhoods were not part of either township. Today, Mevaseret Zion is the wealthiest municipality per capita in the Jerusalem District.

During the time of Joshua, the site of Mevaseret Zion and the surrounding area was allotted to the tribe of Benjamin. The Romans built a fortress there, known simply as Castellum to ensure their control of the road to Jerusalem. Centuries after the fall of Crusader rule in the 13th century, an Arab settlement was built there and the settlers decided to revive the old Roman name and called it “al Qastal”.

During Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, al Qastal, which overlooked the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway, was the center of fierce fighting, namely that of Operation Nachshon. At that time, the Arabs had besieged Jerusalem hoping to starve that city’s Jews to death. The capture of Qastal was one of the keys to breaking the siege and the settlement changed hands several times in the course of the fighting. The tides turned when the revered Arab commander, Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, was killed. Many of the Arabs left their positions to attend al-Husayni's funeral at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, April 9. That same day, Qastal fell to Israeli forces virtually unopposed.

After the war, in 1951, the Jewish village of Maoz Zion ("Stronghold of Zion") was established at the foot of Castel Hill to house Jewish refugees from IraqKurdistan, North Africa and Iran who had been living in a ma'abara, or transit camp, in the area. Many were employed at the nearby Solel Boneh stone quarry.

Mevasseret Yerushalayim was established east of Ma'oz Zion in 1956 by Jewish refugees from North Africa. It was located on a ridge near the armistice line, north of Motza. The residents worked in the fruit orchards in the Arazim Valley.

In 1963, Maoz Zion and Mevasseret Yerushalayim formed a joint local council, which was called Mevasseret Zion. The source of the name came from the Book of Isaiah: "Ascend a lofty mountain, O herald of joy to Zion" (Isaiah 40:9). It encompassed al Qastal and the surrounding area.

Today, the site of Al Qastal is now Castel National Park, consisting of a fortified summit in the Judean Mountains, memorial for the Israeli soldiers who died there, including a monument designed in 1980 by Yitzhak Yamin, and a memorial to the convoys that tried to break through the blockade of Jerusalem.

Other sites in Mevaseret Zion include: Har'el shopping mall located near the Har'el interchange and houses such internationally known businesses as Magnolia Jewelers; the world's first kosher McDonald's, opened in 1995; Tichon Har’el High School; Yeshivat Sha'arei Mevasseret Zion; Nahal Sorek Street where, in 2003, an archaeological dig unearthed an ancient burial cave dating from the mid-Second Temple period; and the ruins of a medieval structure, Khirbet Beit Mizza, believed by some scholars to be the site of the biblical town of Motzah mentioned in the Book of Joshua (Joshua 18:26) until recent excavations made clear that Motzah of the Hebrew Bible is to be identified with nearby Khirbet Mizzah, today, Tel Motza. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020


The Mar Elia Monastery in Mosul, courtesy, Wikipedia

Mosul is a major city in the Assyrian heartland, the Nineveh plains. As such, it is the ancient home of the Assyrian Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church, and the Syriac Orthodox Church. Presently, this heartland is under illegal Arab occupation (and to an extent, colonization) in the north of Arab-occupied Iraq. Located approximately 250 miles north of Baghdad, Mosul stands on the west bank of the Tigris, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank. The metropolitan area has grown to encompass substantial areas on both sides of the river, including Nineveh. The indigenous people of the city are, of course, the Assyrian Christians, descendants of the ancient Assyrians. Alongside, live the Kurds who live mainly in the neighborhood of Nebi Yunus, surrounding the Tomb of Jonah, not far from the supposed Tombs of Daniel and Seth. Both were destroyed by ISIL in 2014. The other non-Arab communities in the city are made up of Armenians, Turkmens, Yazidis, Mandaeans, Circassians, and Shabaks. It also had a sizable Jewish population but they either fled, or were driven out by the Arabs in the 1950s.   

Nineveh was one of the oldest and greatest cities in antiquity. It was settled as early as 6000 BCE and was an integral part of Assyria from as early as the 25th century BCE. Beginning in 2335 BCE, it became part of the Akkadian Empire (2335–2154 BCE) which united all the peoples of Mesopotamia under one rule. During the period of the Old Assyrian Empire (2025–1750), and during the reign of Shamshi-Adad I (1809–1776 BCE), Nineveh was listed as a center of worship of the goddess Ishtar. It remained as such also during the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1056 BCE). Under the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–605 BCE) Nineveh grew in size and importance, particularly under the Kings Tukulti-Ninurta II, Ashurnasirpal II, Shalmaneser IIIAdad-nirari IIITiglath-Pileser IIIShalmaneser V and Sargon II. In approximately 700 BCE, King Sennacherib made Nineveh the new capital of Assyria and immense building work was undertaken. Eventually, the city eclipsed the great city of Babylon, as well as Kalhu and Aššur, making it the largest city in the world. A number of scholars believe the true location of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were in fact at Nineveh. The mound of Kuyunjik in Mosul has been described as the site of the palaces of Sennacherib and his successors including Ashurbanipal who established the Library of Ashurbanipal. Many artifacts from Nineveh from this period had been housed at the Mosul Museum until its destruction by ISIL. In 612 BCE, under Sin-shar-ishkun, Nineveh severely declined as a result of a bloody civil war, a siege, and bitter house to house fighting. Sin-shar-ishkun, himself, was killed defending his capital. His successor, Ashur-uballit II, fought his way out of Nineveh and formed a new Assyrian capital at Harran (today in southeastern Turkey). After the crisis period had ended, the remaining inhabitants of Nineveh built a new city nearby, from its ruins. They called it Mepsila and it succeeded Nineveh as the Tigris bridgehead of the road that linked Assyria and Anatolia with the short lived Median Empire and succeeding Achaemenid Empire (546–332 BCE), thus experiencing a significant economic revival. Mepsila became part of the Seleucid Empire after Alexander's conquests in 332 BCE. While little is known of the city from the Hellenistic period, Mepsila likely belonged to the Seleucid satrapy of Syria, the Greek term for Assyria. Soon, it changed hands once again with the rise of the Sasanian Empire in 225 BCE and became a part of the Sasanian province of Asōristān. Christianity was introduced among the Assyrian people, including in Mepsila, by the apostle Saint Thomas as early as the 1st century, although the ancient Mesopotamian religion remained strong until the 4th century. Since then, the building of churches and monasteries proliferated in and around the city which became an episcopal seat of the Assyrian Church of the East in the 6th century. In 595 St. Elijah's Monastery (Dair Mar Elia) was built, becoming the oldest Christian Monastery in present-day Iraq. The ancient Tahira Church (The Immaculate), established in the 7th century near Bash Tapia, was considered one of the most ancient churches in Mosul. Its exact location has been disputed by modern archaeologists. Some suggest the remnants of the church of the Upper Monastery, and others, the ruined Mar Zena Church. 

In c. 637, the Nineveh Plains, as with the rest of Assyria and Mesopotamia came under the occupation of the Arab Rashidun Caliphate. Under the occupation, Mepsila became the city of Mosul. Its majority population was Kurdish but with a sizable Assyrian presence. During this time, the historic Church of St. Thomas (Mar Touma) was established. In the 10th century, the Mar Petion Church, named after Petion, a 5th century martyr, and the Mar Hudeni Church, named after the 6th century martyr Hudeni, Maphrian of Tikrit, were established. Mar Hudeni served the Tikrit community in Mosul for many centuries. The Church of Shamoun Al-Safa, named after Saint Peter, dates from the 13th century and was inhabited by the nuns of the Sacred Hearts.

In the early 16th century, Mosul came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. At mid-century, part of the Assyrian people left the Assyrian church and joined the Catholic church and became known as Chaldeans. This was the beginning of the decline, but not a total decline, of the Assyrian church. The Mar Petion Church became Chaldean in the late 17th century and the Chaldean St. George's Monastery (Mar Gurguis) was built on the ruins of an earlier Assyrian church. In 1743, the Persians invaded Mesopotamia and the Persian leader Tahmaz Nadir Shah damaged the Assyrian Mar Elia monastery. 150 of the resident monks were killed after they refused to convert to Islam. The monastery lay in ruins until the beginning of the 20th century, when some restoration was completed. As the spread of Chaldean Catholicism progressed, the community’s social structure became highly influenced with the arrival in Mosul by the Dominican fathers who were sent by Pope Benedict XVI in 1750.  Five years later, they established a library on the grounds of St. George’s. In 1828, Mosul became the residence of the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church until the transfer to Baghdad in the mid-20th century. Meanwhile, the ancient Al-Tahira Church became Catholic of the western Syrian rite. Beginning in 1873, the Dominican nuns established a number of schools, health clinics, a printing press, an orphanage, and also workshops to teach girls sewing and embroidery. Over 120 Assyrian Sisters belonged to this congregation. In 1893, another Catholic church, the Roman Catholic Church, was built by the Dominican Fathers on Nineveh Street.

Toward the end of World War I in the area in and around Assyria and Kurdistan, and after the Assyrian genocide (which happened at the same time as the Armenian genocide) at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, the British defeated the Ottomans, and in 1918, occupied Mosul, and indeed the whole of Mesopotamia.

In 1918, after a massacre of Assyrians by Kurds near Salmas, resulting in the assassination of the Patriarch Shimun XIX Benyamin, his brother Shimun XX Paulos succeeded him and moved the patriarchal seat to Mosul. By this time, the Arab state of Iraq was created by the British and by 1923, half of Mosul’s population was Kurdish. In 1980, Ignatius Zakka I, a native of Mosul, became Assyrian Patriarch of Antioch and all east for the Syriac Orthodox Church.

After the 1991 uprisings by the Kurds, Mosul did not fall within the Kurdish-ruled area, but was included in the northern no-fly zone imposed and patrolled by the United States and Britain. Although this prevented Saddam's forces from mounting large-scale military operations again in the region, it did not stop the regime from implementing a steady policy of "Arabization" by which the demography of some areas of Nineveh Governorate were gradually changed. Mosul fell to US and Kurdish forces on April 11, 2003, when the Iraqi Army 5th Corps, loyal to Saddam, abandoned the city and eventually surrendered, two days after the fall of Baghdad.

In 2008, the murder of a dozen Assyrians, including the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, Paulos Faraj Rahho, threats that others would be murdered unless they converted to Islam, and the destruction of their houses, sparked a rapid exodus of the Assyrian population from the city. Accusations were exchanged between Sunni fundamentalists and some Kurdish groups for being behind this new exodus. But some claims linked it to the imminent provincial elections that took place in January 2009, and the related Assyrian Christians' demands for broader representation in the provincial councils.

Early in 2014, Kurdish intelligence received word that ISIL would attack and occupy Mosul. They, in turn, notified the Americans, British, and new Iraqi government and even offered Iraq military help in the form of the Peshmerga, but was turned down. On June 10, 2014, the Islamic State took over the city. Few Assyrians were left in Mosul following ISIL's takeover. Those that did remain were forced to pay a tax for remaining Christian, and they lived under the constant threat of violence. Churches and monasteries, including the ancient Mar Elia, were vandalized and burned down, their ancient heritage sites dating back to the Iron Age were destroyed, and their homes and possessions seized. They also faced ultimatums to convert to Islam, leave their ancient homelands, or be murdered. Most local female Yazidis were imprisoned and occasionally killed for resistance to being sold as sex slaves. Islamic State either killed or expelled most the males, or forcibly converted some Yazidis and Christians to Islam. In addition, ISIL issued an edict ethnically cleansing the remaining predominantly ethnic Assyrian and Armenian Christian Mosul citizens, after they refused to attend a meeting to discuss their future status. On January 21, 2015, the U.S. began coordinating airstrikes with a Kurdish-launched offensive, to help them begin the planned operation to retake the city. In the countryside around Mosul, Kurdish and Assyrian militia also took up arms to resist ISIL oppression, and successfully repelled ISIL attacks on Kurdish and Assyrian towns and villages. On October 16, 2016, after more than two years of ISIL occupation of Mosul, Iraqi, Kurdish, American and French forces launched a joint offensive to recapture the city.