Khōnī Šāpūr, Bēt Wāzīq

The historical town of al-Bawāzīj may be identified with a 95 ha-fortification of trapezoidal plan, adjacent to Tell Mutibigh, which is 10 km north west of Hawija. In fact, Tell Mutibigh appears to be an early Islamic fortified residence or palace.

A regular pattern of deserted neighbourhoods and canals in the city area is still recognizable in the oldest aerial images from the 1940s. 8 km SW of Tell Mutibigh, between the villages of Imām Ismā‛īl and Shāwūk, another large Islamic-period settlement was situated, briefly visited, and described by C. J. Edmonds in 1923. The site comprised a large, densely occupied settlement area with traces a) residential quarter, large cemetery areas, three standing, late Atabeg to early Mongol-period funeral monuments and, according to Ottoman sources, also an Early Abbasid congregational mosque with a minaret. Thus, Al-Ismā´īlīya hypothetically represents a pre-Islamic and early Islamic urban settlement, identical with the towns of Khōnī Šāpūr and Bēt Wāzīq, as named in the sources.

Following the foundation of the new and fortified town near Tell Mutibigh, the earlier centre was transformed into a funeral area, with the main mosque and other religious structures still maintaining their functions. All three mausolea has been demolished by ISIS in 2015.

Picture of Imam Ismail mausoleum after demolition by ISIS
Al-Ismā´īlīya, Imam Ismail mausoleum, after demolition by ISIS, Spring 2015

Picture of a digital reconstruction of Imam Ismail mausoleum
Al-Ismā´īlīya, Imam Ismail mausoleum, digital reconstruction of the structure by Nyx Alexander