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Arabic: 'al-mawsil

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Old quarters of Mosul, Iraq.
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Old quarters of Mosul, Iraq. Photo: Daniel Grünberg.

Bent minaret of 12th century Nureddine mosque.
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Bent minaret of 12th century Nureddine mosque. Photo: Daniel Grünberg.

City in Iraq with approximately 1.3 million inhabitants (2005 estimate), situated in the northwestern part of the country, on the west bank of the Tigris, and close to the ruined Assyrian city of Nineveh.
The economic base of the city is production of cereals and livestock, oil production, oil refineries, cement factories, cotton products, textile mills, and tanneries. Even though muslin is no longer produced here, Mosul is the city that named the product.
The population of Mosul is principally Kurdish, but with a large minority of Arab-speaking Christian Assyrians, and a smaller minority of Turkomans.
Mosul has many ancient buildings, of which the Great Mosque, the Red Mosque, and the Mosque of Nabi Jarjis are the most famous. The town centre is dominated by a maze of streets and attractive 19th century houses.

8th century: Mosul grows into the most important city of northwestern Mesopotamia. The city serves as an important stop on the caravan route between the Mediterranean Sea and India.
1127: Mosul becomes the capital of the Zangid dynasty.
1222: The Zangids are sacked by Sultan Badr ad-Din Lu'lu'.
1258: Mosul is destroyed by the Mongols under the leadership of Hülegü, and Sultan Badru d-Din Lu'lu's forces are driven out of town. This marks the end to Mosul's prosperity.
1534: The Ottomans take control over Mosul, turning it into a commercial and administrative centre for its region.
1918: The British take control of Mosul.
1926: A border settlement makes Mosul Iraqi, overlooking the Turkish claims on the city.
2003 April 11: After days of fighting, Mosul comes under the control of US-led forces and their Iraqi-Kurdish allies (see US/British-Iraq War).

By Tore Kjeilen