About Halabja

A Brief History of Halabja

Halabja is a very ancient town, dating back to the Lullubis era. It is believed that the ancient city of Khar Khar 2000 BC is today’s Halabja. In the year 641, the Islamic Army freed the town from the Sassanid Empire and became a part of the Muslim Empire.

During the Abbasid Caliphate, between 959-1015 AD, the princedom of Hassnawya reigned the town followed by the reign of the princedom of Annazi between 1016-1117 AD. The town was reconstructed by the Dukes in 1650 near the present Takya mosque. It was an affiliate of Gullanbar (Khurmal) subdistrict before it was announced a district. Then, in 1889, it became a district during the Ottoman Empire and Osman Pasha Jaff was assumed mayor which was simultaneous with Najaf district announcement. The first school was built in 1919. According to British statistics, the town had a population of 6509 in 1920 and it administrated Penjwin, Khurmal, Warmawa and Darbandikhan. In the 1920s, the played a great role in assisting the Sheikh Mahmoud Hafid’s revolts and defending the town against the Admonz’s British warplanes that invaded the Town, then followed the Ashkaul Battle in the Shnrwe Mountain.

Halabja the place of many great Kurdish poets including Ahmed Mukhtar Jaff, Mawlawi, Abdullah Goran, Tahir Bag Jaff, Qanie, etc.

  • The first car appeared in the town in 1924 followed by the installation of telegraph in the same year.
  • The first hospital was built in 1929 followed by provision of water supply in the same year.
  • Sara building was built in 1930. In the same year, petrol station was opened.
  • In 1931, both a guest house and a car park were built for the first time.
  • In 1933, the first girl school was opened.
  • In 1936, the first generator brought into use.
  • In 1939, the first play was performed by the notable actors, Ahmed Jutyar and Salih mulla Ahmed and directed by a Palestinian.
  • In the 1930s, the town had three neighborhoods which were Pasha, Pir Mohammed and Sara consisting of roughly 500 houses all in all.
  • In 1945, the first secondary school was built. The Public Park was opened in the same year.
  • In 1952, the people of Halabja provoked an uprising against the monarchy led by the famous figure, Ahmed Haji Raheem.
  • In 1954, a building, which consisted of some floors, was built for tobacco examination for the first time.
  • In 1956, the plays: Merchant of Venice and the Kurdish classic love story Mam and Zin were performed and directed by A.A.Shawnm and Ahmed Hama Rasheed Afandi. In the same year, a dormitory was built for students outside of Halabja.
  • In 1958, Halabja had three theatre crews: Shinrwe, Ganjan and Lawani Dimocrat. This is despite of all the encouragement that was given to poetry and music.
  • In the 1950s, a factory for fizzy drinks was established. It sent its products to Sulaymanya and other cities.
  • The people of Halabja and its notable figures played a role in September Revolts.
  • During 1961-1965, Dr.Barham Salih’s father Ahmed Salih was the mayor of Halabja.
  • On September 11th 1970, the Bank of Rafidain was opened.
  • The Iraqi Regime bombarded the Town in 26th April 1974 resulting in 100 casualties in addition to destruction of houses and thus, leaving some people homeless.
  • People played an important role in later revolts. One of the martyrs and noticeable figures is Shaheed Fatih.
  • On May 13th, 1987 Halabja people raised an uprising against the Ba’ath regime. In return, the regime bombarded the town to suppress the uprising which caused the deaths of 50 innocent people and arresting and burying alive 72 people in addition to destroying the Kani Ashqan neighbourhood using TNT bombs.
  • On March 16th, 1988, after the uprising and freedom of Halabja from Ba’ath regime, Iraqi planes dropped gas canisters and chemical weapons. At least 5,000 innocent people died as an immediate result of the chemical attack.
  • On March 16th, 2010, Dr. Barham Ahmed Salih, the former president of Kurdistan Regional Government, laid the foundation stone of the University of Halabja.
  • On February 16th, 2011, Dr. Khasraw Abdullah Ali assumed as the first president of Halabja University.


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