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Karemles is one of the villages of Nineveh Goverrnorate, that belgongs administratively to the Sub-District of Bartillah within the District of Hamdaniyah. It lies 28 km to the south-east of Mosul on the Mosul-Erbil highway. It is 5km away from the Sub-District of of Bartillah, 4 km from the Distirict of Qaraqush, and 22 km from the ancient city of Nimrud (Kalho).

The village is situated on a historical mound, surrounded by many arhaeologiclal Tells that used to form with Karmles one Assyrian city, such as Tell Ghanam to the north, Tell Barbara that is visible from far away  makes the village distinct from the other neighbouring ones with the Jenary Heights to the west, Raban Yohana, Besede, Barshare to the south, and the Heights of Khatoon Khamra, and Kherbat Issa to the east.



Hitorical and Aracheological Profile

Karemles is a city that is deeply rooted in history dating back to the stone ages, and to the prehistoric ages. It was mentioned in the most ancient and famous references. Its name was associated with the greatest battles, invasions BC and AD, such as the campaign of Darius Dara 1 (485BC), Darius Dara 111, Alexander the Great ( 331BC), the campaign of the Roman Emperor Tranan (AD 114) to the east, the Mongol conquests ( AD 1236), the invasion of Nadir Shah, etc.. . It has thus attained the highest reputation and status in greatness. It was therefore the focus of many arahaeologists, explorers, and orientalists who spoke of its ancient history and stressed that it was one of the important Assyrian cities. 

The topography of the city gives an intuitive impression of how ancient the village is; it lies on a wide plateau standing high above the surrounding plain at an altitude of (5-10m). Scattered around it are numerous Tells such as Tell Barbara, Tell Ghanam, Kherbat Issa, Khatoon Khamra Hills, Bersheer Heights , Rabban Yohana Tell, Besidi Tell, and Allawi Tepe which all give and archaeological impression of the place due to the existence of thousands of ancient pottery sherds scattered about.



Rolinson was the first to come across the name of Karmles by the pottery plates discovered during the excavation compaign carried out by Henry Layard in the middle of the 19th century. Rolinson, however, failed to give an explanation to the name of Karmles at that time. Therefore, he stated the name in his books and reports as it appeared in the cuneiform texts. Speaking of the capital of the Assyrian state in his book “ The Five Great Kingdoms”, he said Karmles had its own appellation as “Dur” meaning the city of god, from which Rolinson copied the name of of the village in its cuneiform text without giving an explanation, supporting thereby Rolinson’s view that it is a religious city consecrated to a god during that period.

The oldest name given to Karmles is (Kar-Mulissi), an Akkadian name given to the the city during the Akkadian Occupation of the Assyrian lands during the rule of their King Sargon the Akkadian (2371- 2316BC). When the Assyrian state was subjugated by the Sumerians during the rule of the Third Ur Dynasty in the end of the Third Millenium BC, karmles was called (kar- dankir-nin-lil), i.e., the city of godess Ninlil wife of god Enlil and mother of Ninurta, a Sumerian goddess who had temples all over ancient Iraq. The name (kar-nin-lil), says Postgate, is identical with the Akkadian name “ Kar-Mulissi” that conforms to the Assyrian (kar – mlisu) or ( kar –mlilto).

Karlmes continued to bear the name (kar-mulissi) until (490 BC), when conqueror Darius (521- 485BC), tired of his campaign against Scythia , took rest in the the city where most his kamels loaded with booties, perished. The city was thus called ( Ku- kamila) or the kamels’ yard. It is noticeable that that the name continued to be used side by side with Karmles as a synonym for manycenturies. The name was mentioned among the wars of Alexander the Great in the books of historians like Arian in his “ Ascendence” and in the writings of Diodorus of Sicily as well as the historian Strabon (23 BC- 36 BC) in his book “ Geography of Stabon) where he says: “ Ku--gamila is in Assyria. It is the village where Darius 3rth was defeatd and lost his kingdom. The village is famous due to its name which means the kamels’ yard given to it by Darius son of Hestabis”.


The Monasteries of Karmles

1.     Mar Gewargis Monastery

This is the present church of Mar Gewargis built on the northern side of the village that was changed during the recent ages to a cemetery. It was established by monk Gewargis by the end of the 6th century AD. Its building is still standing today as the oldest building in the village. For a perioud of time it used to be a big school full of monks, where language, philosophy and church liturgy were taught and where many early biographies of church fathers and saints were written.


1.     Mar Younan Monastery: it is a small monastery which lies to the east of the village which was established by Younan of Karmles at the beginning of the 7th century AD.

2.     Mar Youhanan Monastery. All that is left of the monastery is a small and simple mound known as the Tell of Raban Youhanan which lies to the south of the village.

3.     Banat Maryam (Mary’s daughters) Monastery: this used to be adjacent to the Monastery of Mar Gewargis on its northern side. It was a convent that witnessed many catastrophies by the Mongols in the 13thand the 18th century during the campaigns of Ismael Pasha.



The churches of Karmles

1.     The Church of the Forty Martyrs: the ruins of this church lie to the south east of the village on the mound known until now as ( “Beth Sahdhe” or “ Bsede” i.e. (the house of martyrs). The church was named after those saint martyrs who were killed in the aftermath of the Persian Magi persecution of all the faithful in those areas. It used to exist before AD 1236, because one of the castles in the city’s wall used to be called“ The Castle of Martyrs” during the Mongol invasion.


2.     St. Barbara Church: this chuchr stands on the ruins of the Tell named after the Church’s name (Tell Babara) to the west of the village. It was built like an ancient Assyrian temple dedicated to god (Bano) after whose name Karmles was named ( Er- ilo-bano)  i.e. the city of god Bano. The Tell is definitely believed to have been an artificial Ziggurat built by the ancient inhabitants of Karmles as a temple. Tradition in the village has it that Barbara was the daughter of the pagan governor of the city. On the spread of Christianity in the area by St. Adday and St. Thomas and their desciples, Barbara and her waitresses converted to Christianiyt. Enraged, her father strived to gain her back to paganism, the religion of his forefathers and her ancesters, but failed. However, he hated to defame his only daughter by the inhabitants of the city, when he was the absolute ruler. His efforts to win her back to her religion all but failed. With his arrogance overshadowing any other passion, he jailed her in the prison on the foot of the Ziggurat, where now the churhc lies. When all other attempts to win her back failed, her fater sentenced Barbara and her waitress to death when the swordsman beheaded her with her waitress. The two were buried in the wall of the room where they were imprisoned.


3.     Virgin Mary’s Church: this church lies in the middle of the village. Despite its small area, it is one of the most beautiful churches in the village. It was basically the house of a lady who, before her death, endowed it for the service of souls. It was built in 1887 and was reconstructed during the time of Mar Eliya 12th Patriarch of Babel through the efforst of Khorepiscopus Butrus Jajjo and the funds raised by the villages in 1887. An other temple was added to the church during the time of Patriarch Mar Emmanuel. With support and efforts made by the villagees in 1902, another temple was added to the southern side of the church dedicated St. Adday the Apostle.



4.     St. Adday’s Church

This church, the largest and most modern at present, lies in the northern part of the village. Construction of the church began in 1937. It took about 12 years to build the foundations and walls, i.e., until 1949. Work was then halted for ten years due to lack of funding. The construction of the church was finally completed in 1963.  


Achievements of Sarkis Aghajan in Karmles

1.     Purchasing of a house to be used as a headquarters for the Christian Affairs Body and to serve as ciber café.

2.     Building a Summer Cultural Club on an area of (2000sqm.) to provide scervices to the villagers.

3.     Building a cemetery in on an area of (3) donums.

4.     Purchasing a house for funerals which comprises a hall for men and another for women in addition to service rooms.

5.     Purchase of a house for Karmles Notables Council with furniture.

6.     Building a kindergarten on an area of ( 600sqm) with furniture.

7.     Construction of (50) flats for displaced people who fled violence.

8.     Renovation of the monumental church of Mar Gewargis.

9.     Purchasing of a house with an adjacent plot of land to be used a headquarters of the sports club.

10.Rehabilitation of the old Nuns Convent which became the headquarters for all the congregations and chorus.

11.Reparation and furnishing of the new Nuns Convent.

12.Reparation of the church of Mar Adday the Apostle and supplying it with air conditioning units.

13.Reconstruction of the old library that used to be in the churhc of Virgin Mary and supplying it with furniture and ariconditioning units.

14.Reparation of the shrine and church of Martyr Barbara along with the addition of (750sqm) to the backyard of the house.

15.Consturction of a steel bridge to facilitate access to the shrine of St. Barbara.

16.Purchase of an agricultural land of an area of ( 17.5 ) donums to build flats for the Armeinian sect.

17.Construction of (20) flats for the Armenian sect.

18.Reparation of a church house and supplying it with furniture and airconditioning units.

19.Supplying Salam Clinic with drug requirements under the supervision of the specialized doctor, and the distribution of free medication as prescribed by the doctor.

20.Addition of a new 500m-long pipe grid for potable water in the old sector of the village.

21.Installation of an additional water pumping station to supply water to the village from Baghdede.

22.Concrete pavement of an 80-meter long access road to link the old village with Martyrs Quarter.

23.Distibution of monthly allowances to 122 displaced families.

24.Purchase of a tent and chairs and other requirements for common occasions in the village.

25.Drilling of a water-well to supply water to the Convent of St Anne Daughters.

26.Pringing of Al-Karma magazine.

27.Maintenance of the power supply grid.

28.Supplying St Joseph ’s chorus with musical instruments and uniform.

29.Reparation and furnishing the archbishop’s and priests’s house and supplying it with air-conditioning units.

30.Supplying St. Joseph ’s Centre with air-conditioning units.

31.Supplying the Mahabba & Farah Chorus with furniture.

32.Providing the Arts and Folkore Troupe with costumes and some necessary requirements.

33.Allocation of salaries for workers during cleaning campaigns and renting cleaning machinery.

34.Supplying the two secondary and primary schools with some necessary requirements.

35.Purchase of wheelchairs

36.Supplying the following institutions and centres with power supply generators of different capacities:

a.     Mar Adday’s church

b.     Vergin Mary’s church

c.      The late Archbishop Estephan Babaka’s house

d.     The Charity Body

e.      Christian Affaris Centre

f.       St. Barabara Shrine

g.     St. Joseph’s Centre

h.     The Armenian complex.



37 Purchase of vehicles of various sizes for the following:

a. (2) buses and (2) minibuses for student transportation

b. (1) pick-ups for St. Adday’s church.

c. (1) vehicle for funeral services.

d. (1) saloon car and (2) pick-ups for the Charity Body

e. (3) pick-ups for the Christian Affairs Centre.

f. (1) pick-up for Mar Bolus Kindergarten.

g. (1) pick-up for Karmles Notables Council

h. (1) pick-up for St. Anne’s Orphanage.

i. (1) mini-bus for student transportation from the Armenian compound.



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