Altın Köprü (Pirde)

Altın Köprü, a small, but strategically important town, is situated on an (artificial?) islet in the Little Zāb, in the only place in whole region where the trade route from Baghdad via Arbīl could reliably cross the river all year round. The settlement’s origin may be dated back to the Assyrian period; the crossing was most probably provided with masonry bridges from the Sasanian and early Islamic periods at the latest, by which time the site bore the names Shahrqard and Qtartā d-Zāwā (ʻThe Bridge across the Zāb’).

As early as in the pre-Islamic era, urban status and particularly significant role in ecclesiastical administration can be assigned to the site. In the first half of the sixteenth century, the town was still depicted as a residential fortress, incorporating several monumental buildings. Thereafter, however, the center was to undergo a transformation, resulting in pauperization, the loss of nearly all architectural landmarks and substantial changes in relation to the urban layout.

The famous Ottoman bridges, which replaced several older precursors, were eventually blown up in 1918.

Picture of foundation of a medieval bridge on the bank of Little Zab
Altın Köprü - view of the town nucleus; the pillar foundation of a medieval bridge is visible next to the existing bridge, on the bank of Little Zab

Reproduction of a 16th century image of Altın Köprü
View of Altın Köprü painted by Nasúh al-Silahi Matrakçi, 1534