A sizable town located to the east of Mosul, on the same road along which Barṭelle and Karamlish are located. Its name is Turkish, lit. ‘the black bird’, but it is also called in Syriac Beth Khudedā, Bukhdedā, or Baghdedā (among other conflicting spellings) and in Arabic al-Ḥamdāniyya. Its history is best known from the 12th   cent. onward although the town must have existed much earlier. Qaraqosh contains the remains of at least three maphrians, Yuḥanon IV (1189) and two others who lived during the 15th cent. In his Chronicle, Bar ʿEbroyo mentions it as the scene of violence at the hands of Kurds and Tatars, and in his Ecclesiastical History he discusses the mostly good relations between the local people and the maphrians residing in Dayro d-Mor Matay. Monks native to Qaraqosh are attested in Edessa, Jerusalem, and Dayr al-Suryān in Egypt. Here lived the highly skilled scribe and miniaturist Bacchus as evidenced in one ms. dated to 1257. The invasion of the Persian Nādir Shāh in 1743 destroyed it almost entirely, but it was soon rebuilt magnificently as reflected in the art, architecture, and Syriac inscriptions of its churches. The bp. of Dayro d-Mor Behnam, Karas of ‘Khudeda’ played a crucial role in the rebuilding activities. There are currently nine churches in Qaraqosh, some truly monumental, including two recent ones. In antiquity Qaraqosh belonged to the Ch. of E., but it shifted to the Syr. Orth. Church around the beginning of the 7th cent. under the influence of Dayro d-Mor Matay, and around the middle of the 18th cent., it turned almost entirely Syr. Cath. In the late 1950s it was inhabited by some seven thousand people speaking Sureth, but the number today is less certain.

See Fig. 103 and 104c.


  • Fiey, Assyrie chrétienne, vol. 2, 439–61.
  • A.  Harrak, ‘Two Syriac inscriptions commemorating mapherians’, Harp 20 (2006), 349–60.
  • A.  Harrak, Syriac and Garshuni Inscriptions of Iraq.

How to Cite This Entry

Amir Harrak , “Qaraqosh,” in Qaraqosh, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay,

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Amir Harrak , “Qaraqosh,” in Qaraqosh, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018),

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Harrak, Amir. “Qaraqosh.” In Qaraqosh. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay. Digital edition prepared by David Michelson, Ute Possekel, and Daniel L. Schwartz. Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018.

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