Erbil is the third-largest city in Iraq after Baghdad and Mosul. The city lies eighty kilometres east of Mosul, and is the capital of Kurdistan.
Urban life at Erbil can be dated back to at least the twenty-third century BC. The city has been under the rule of many regional powers during that time, such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Sasanians, Arabs, and Ottomans. The city's archaeological museum contains only pre-Islamic artifacts.
The modern town of Erbil stands on a tell topped by an Ottoman fort. During the Middle Ages, Erbil became a major trading centre on the route between Baghdad and Mosul, a role which it still plays today with important road links to the outside world. A population of Assyrian Christians (about 20,000) live mostly in suburbs such as Ankawa.
The parliament of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region was established in Erbil in 1970 after negotiations between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by Mustafa Barzani, but was effectively controlled by Saddam Hussein until the Kurdish uprising at the end of the 1991 Gulf War. The legislature ceased to function effectively in the mid-1990s when fighting broke out between the two main Kurdish factions, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The city was captured by the KDP in 1996 with the assistance of the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein. The PUK then established an alternative Kurdish government in Sulaimaniyah. KDP claimed that on March 1996 PUK asked for Iran's help to fight KDP. Considering this as a foreign attack on Iraq's soil, KDP asked the central Iraqi government for help.
The Kurdish Parliament in Erbil reconvened after a peace agreement was signed between the Kurdish parties in 1997, but had no real power. The Kurdish government in Erbil had control only in the western and northern parts of the autonomous region.
During the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, a United States special forces task force was headquartered just outside of Arbil. The city was the scene of rapturous celebrations on April 10, 2003 after the fall of Baghdad.
The Citadel of Erbil is an ancient citadel located in northern Mesopotamia in center of city of Erbil capital of Kurdistan Region.
The citadel was built on layers of archaeological ruins which represent consecutive historical settlements, since the building of the first village in that place around the 6th millennium BC. The total area of this citadel is 102,000 square metres and it rises 26 metres from ground level.
Erbil International Airport was opened in autumn of 2005. It has scheduled flights to a number of airports in the Middle East and to Vienna via Austrian Airlines 5 flights weekly to more than 130 destinations world wide. Royal Jordanian flies in from Amman and Kurdistan Airlines flies to many locations across the Middle East. On 16 September 2009 weekly flights began operating between Erbil and Oslo, Norway. Viking Airlines launched flight between Erbil and Athens, Greece. Lufthansa began flying to Erbil from Frankfurt. The KRG built a new $500 million airport adjacent to the existing terminal, which has the capacity to accept the largest aircraft in the world, including the Russian Antonov 225 cargo plane and the American C-5 Galaxy. The new airport has the fourth largest runway in the world and the lowest fuel prices in the region. The new Erbil International Airport opened its doors in 2010.
At this moment Erbil is going under a economic boom with many modern and tall buildings under construction but also health care, education, jobs are all widely improved.