Location and origin of its name

The city of al-Warka, or Uruk in the Sumerian language, is located on the west bank of the ancient Euphrates River, 30 kilometers east of Samawah and 12 kilometers northeast of the village of al-Khidr. Al-Warka is an Arabic name derived from the Sumerian name “Uruk”, the city in which Gilgamesh lived and wrote his famous epic. It is also the first civilized city in the history of mankind dating back to 4000 BC.

During this period, farming villages were built around the town of Uruk, which had considerable military and economic strength at the time. Historians mention that the history of the city dates back to around 3800 BC, or the start of the Bronze Age. Twelve kings ruled in this dynasty, the first of whom was “Muskikashir” and most notably the fifth king Gilgamesh in this dynasty, who is the owner of the famous epic that traces its origins to several Sumerian texts.

Historical importance

The importance of the city of al-Warka lies in its historical distinction. Moreover, it is the first place on earth where writing was discovered 3500 years BC.

The city was discovered a hundred years ago during German excavations in Iraq, and it went through several stages of excavation, the last of which was after 2003 by the German mission, but it was suspended from work.

The first letters of writing were here

The city of Uruk is the first city from which writing started; pictorial symbols and many clay tablets have also been discovered there. This writing was very modest; it was not used to convey religion or historical events or to write literature or human ideas. The earliest stages of writing were pictorial, meaning their shapes were derived from things the eye sees in everyday life, such as a person, house, plants, animals, vegetables, weapons, household equipment and agricultural tools.


Photography: Murtadha al-Asadi