Amediya or Amedi as its called in Kurdistan of Iraq is a beautiful city built on a plateau. It’s history dates back to 3000 BC to Assyrian times. It’s also said to be one of the capitols of the ancient empire of the Medes, hence its name, Amedi (of the Medes). Caravans traveling through the Zagros mountains had too pass through it, therefore it was also called, The Gate to Mosul.
One of the traditions attached to the place is that the Biblical Magi who followed Christ’s star came from here. To my mind this makes sense considering the fact that Daniel the Prophet probably passed this way fulfilling his duties for the Medo-Persian empire and his tomb is here in Iraq. Before the birth of the modern State of Israel there was a large Jewish population living here, probably dating back to the Assyrian captivity of Israel and the later Babylonian captivity of Judea. Christians, Muslims and Jews all coexisted here for centuries in peace.
The view from this ancient city is truly spectacular. It’s surrounded by drastic mountain peaks often capped with snow. Because of it’s cool climate, abundant water sources and spectacular scenery it’s a popular vacation spot for Iraqis seeking to escape the summer heat of the south; at least it was until the ISIS takeover below the Kurdistan border. It’s sad. Before the withdrawal of our troops, despite the insurgency, thousands of Iraqi tourists would flood into the region to picnic and camp out in this beautiful area. The economy of Kurdistan was absolutely booming with new hotels and fine restaurants springing up everywhere. Now people are fleeing the country, there’s little cash flow in the economy and few jobs. Just over the horizon like a dark dirty haze hanging in the atmosphere is the palpable threat of doom creating a constant undercurrent of fear and concern for the future. It sickens the soul. The only remedy for such soul sickness is a message of hope to counter a devil’s despair. Amedi reminds me of how things were, how they can be again.
NOTE: I took this picture from a roadside stop on our way to Amedi. We were still many miles away from the city but this view reminded me of the words of Jesus, A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither can the light of hope.