Originally the capital of the Assyrian King Assurbanipal, this town was founded in about 3000 BC and named after a national god, Ashur. It is located 78 mi/125 km south of Mosul and 180 mi/295 km northwest of Baghdad.

Until recently, sights included the ziggurat (a pyramid-shaped temple), the grounds around the ziggurat, the restored Arab Palace, the remains of the city walls, the Akitu Temple, and the Anu (sky god) and Adad (storm god) towers. In 2015, ISIS terrorists were reported to have blown up the ancient city. Fortunately, some of Assur's most interesting pieces (such as the Winged Bull and the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser, or Jehu Stela) are preserved in the British Museum.

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