HALAMATA CAVE (ئەشکەوتی هەڵەمەتا)

Our next stop was supposed to be Halamata Cave – an archaeological site near Duhok. The caves contain the Assyrian relief carvings known as the Maltai reliefs. The reliefs all show a procession of nine figures (the Assyrian king worshipping the main divinities in the Mesopotamian pantheon). Reliefs date from 704 BC to 681 BC. As with the reliefs at Khinnis, the reliefs at Halamata Cave are associated with the northern canal system built by the Assyrian king Sennacherib (704-681 BC) to carry water to his capital city of Nineveh.

We could not locate the reliefs, and locals living next to it had no idea where the path was. Finally, just a minute before we were supposed to leave, we found a friendly Ayman (gift of 20 EUR) who promised to bring us there the following day. We went with him to a local bingo place in the evening to take an Efes beer. After that, he took us with his brother to a Kurdish disco. The next morning a muddy, slippery path led us to the ancient reliefs. Ayman brought some little refreshments, so we made a short picnic with great views of Duhok.

Parking location – Duhok: 36.837899N 42.930121E  (🚻 – at Bingo place)
Parking location – Halamata Cave: 36.838141N 42.944281E