The Rashid Agha house, sited on the citadel of Erbil/Hawler, is an outstanding exemplar of a Late Ottoman era house with a diwankhana—a prominent reception complex. It is set along the southeastern edge of the perimeter in the Saray neighborhood, with a view over the lower city. According to the available records, the residence was constructed in 1903–1906. Since 2010, it has been undergoing a meticulous restoration.
Description & Iconography
'Description & Iconography” general sources: Angela Bizzaro, “The Graphic Documentation of the Rashid Agha Diwan Khana,” in Cereti and Giunta 2011, 13–16; Giuseppe Morgantini, “Project Methodology and Historical Profile,” in ibid., 17–20; Rossana Nicolò, “Knowledge of the Building as a Basis for the Intervention and the Restoration Plan Design,” in ibid., 25–30; al Yaqoobi 2016.
The Rashid Agha house is one of Erbil’s few historical mansions bearing dating inscriptions.1 The inscription with the building’s date is rendered in relief on the stone architrave leading into the porch into southwestern service room. The dates are written below a more elaborate script and read 1321 and 1323 A.H., corresponding to 1903/4 and 1905/6 (presumably the dates marking the beginning and end of the construction). Nearby, in the same space, the architrave of the entrance leading into the diwan bears another inscription, this one without the dates.
- 1. Giuseppe Morganti, “Project Methodology and Historical Profile,” in Cereti and Giunta 2011, 18–19.
The house’s inscription indicates that it was built in 1903-1906. However, its architectural fabric indicates that it was built over preexisting structures, now comprising part of its underground level. The house saw several alterations through the course of the 20th century. It was abandoned in the 1990s, resulting in significant damage to the structure. Restoration has been ongoing since 2010.
“History” general source: Giuseppe Morganti, “Project Methodology and Historical Profile,” in Cereti and Giunta 2011, 17–20.
Al Yaqoobi, Dara, et al. 2016. Highlights of Erbil Citadel. Erbil: High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization.
Cererti, Carlo G., and Roberta Giunta. 2011. Preservation of Cultural Heritage of the Kurdish Region in Iraq: Italian Cooperation Project in Iraqi Kurdistan, 2009-2010. Rome: IsIAO.