Dijlah, Dicle, Hiddekel

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Updated:Sunday 12th October 2014

Tigris ?

Tigris Definition

Tigris is a river in Turkey and Iraq that originates in the Taurus Mountains at Lake Hazar. With the Euphrates it defined the ancient region of Mesopotamia. Important for its irrigation capacity, it gave rise to sustained civilization. The ruins of many ancient cities lie on its banks, including those of Nineveh, Calah, Ashur, Tisfun, and Seleucia.Another name for the Tigris, used from the time of the Persian Empire, is Arvand Rood, literally Arvand River. Today the name Arvand Rood is the Persian name for the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers which in Arabic is called Shatt al-Arab.Tigris is one of the two large rivers of Mesopotamia, which the Bible says, flowed from the Garden of Eden.Tigris has a greater volume of water than the Euphrates and flows faster, making upstream navigating impossible. (Wikipedia) - Tigris For other uses, see Tigris (disambiguation). Countries Cities Source Mouth Length Basin Discharge
About 100 km from its source, the Tigris enables rich agriculture outside Diyarbakır, Turkey.
Turkey, Syria, Iraq
 - left Batman, Garzan, Botan, Khabur, Greater Zab, Lesser Zab, ''Adhaim, Cizre, Diyala
 - right Wadi Tharthar
Diyarbakır, Mosul, Baghdad
Lake Hazar
 - elevation 1,150 m (3,773 ft)
 - coordinates 38°29′0″N 39°25′0″E / 38.48333°N 39.41667°E / 38.48333; 39.41667
Shatt al-Arab
 - location Al-Qurnah, Basra Governorate, Iraq
1,850 km (1,150 mi)
375,000 km2 (144,788 sq mi)
for Baghdad
 - average 1,014 m3/s (35,809 cu ft/s)
 - max 2,779 m3/s (98,139 cu ft/s)
 - min 337 m3/s (11,901 cu ft/s)
Map of the Tigris-Euphrates basin area

The Tigris River (/ˈtaɪɡrɪs/) is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.

  • 1 Geography
  • 2 Navigation
  • 3 Etymology
  • 4 Management and water quality
  • 5 Religion and mythology
  • 6 See also
  • 7 Notes
  • 8 External links


The Tigris is 1,850 km long, rising in the Taurus Mountains of eastern Turkey about 25 km southeast of the city of Elazig and about 30 km from the headwaters of the Euphrates. The river then flows for 400 km through Turkish territory before becoming the border between Syria and Turkey. This stretch of 44 km is the only part of the river that is located in Syria.

Close to its confluence with the Euphrates, the Tigris splits into several channels. First, the artificial Shatt al-Hayy branches off, to join the Euphrates near Nasiriyah. Second, the Shatt al-Muminah and Majar-al-Kabir branches off to feed the Central Marshes. Further downstream, two other distributary channels branches off (the Al-Musharrah and Al-Kahla), which feeds the Hawizeh Marshes. The main channel continues southwards and is joined by the Al-Kassarah, which drains the Hawizeh Marshes. Finally, the Tigris joins the Euphrates near al-Qurnah to form the Shatt-al-Arab. According to Pliny and other ancient historians, the Euphrates originally had its outlet into the sea separate from that of the Tigris.

Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, stands on the banks of the Tigris. The port city of Basra straddles the Shatt al-Arab. In ancient times, many of the great cities of Mesopotamia stood on or near the Tigris, drawing water from it to irrigate the civilization of the Sumerians. Notable Tigris-side cities included Nineveh, Ctesiphon, and Seleucia, while the city of Lagash was irrigated by the Tigris via a canal dug around 2400 B.C.


The Tigris has long been an important transport route in a largely desert country. Shallow-draft vessels can go as far as Baghdad, but rafts are needed for transport upstream to Mosul.

General Francis Rawdon Chesney hauled two steamers overland through Syria in 1836 to explore the possibility of an overland and river route to India. One steamer, the Tigris, was wrecked in a storm which sank and killed twenty. Chesney proved the river navigable to powered craft. Later, the Euphrates and Tigris Steam Navigation Company was established in 1861 by the Lynch Brothers trading company. They had 2 steamers in service. By 1908 ten steamers were on the river. Tourists boarded steam yachts to venture inland as this was the first age of archaeological tourism, and the sites of Ur and Ctesiphon became popular to European travelers.

In the First World War during the British conquest of Ottoman Mesopotamia, Indian and Thames River paddlers were used to supply General Townsend''s Army. See Siege of Kut and the Fall of Baghdad (1917). The Tigris Flotilla included vessels Clio, Espiegle, Lawrence, Odin, armed tug Comet, armed launches Lewis Pelly, Miner, Shaitan, Sumana, and stern wheelers Muzaffari/Mozaffir. These were joined by Royal Navy Fly-class gunboats Butterfly, Cranefly, Dragonfly, Mayfly, Sawfly, Snakefly, and Mantis, Moth, and Tarantula.

After the war, river trade declined in importance during the 20th century as the Basra-Baghdad-Mosul railway, an unfinished portion of the Baghdad Railway, was completed and roads took over much of the freight traffic.

EtymologyBedoween crossing the river Tigris with plunder (c.1860)

The Ancient Greek form Tigris (Τίγρις, Τίγρης) was borrowed from Old Persian Tigrā, itself from Elamite ti-ig-ra, itself from Sumerian idigna.

The original Sumerian Idigna or Idigina was probably from *id (i)gina "running water", which can be interpreted as "the swift river", contrasted to its neighbor, the Euphrates, whose leisurely pace caused it to deposit more silt and build up a higher bed than the Tigris. The Sumerian form was borrowed into Akkadian as Idiqlat, and from there into the other Semitic languages (cf. Hebrew Ḥîddeqel, Syriac Deqlaṯ, Arabic Dijla).

Another name for the Tigris used in Middle Persian was Arvand Rud, literally "swift river". Today, however, Arvand Rud (New Persian: اروند رود) refers to the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers (known in Arabic as the Shatt al-Arab). In Kurdish, it is also known as Ava Mezin, "the Great Water".

The name of the Tigris in languages that have been important in the region:

Outside of Mosul, Iraq Language Name for Tigris
Akkadian Idiqlat
Arabic دجلة, Dijla; حداقل, Ḥudaqil
Aramaic ܕܝܓܠܐܬ, Diglath
Armenian Տիգրիս, Tigris, Դգլաթ, Dglatʿ
Greek ἡ Τίγρης, -ητος, hē Tígrēs, -ētos;

ἡ, ὁ Τίγρις, -ιδος, hē, ho Tígris, -idos

Hebrew חידקל , Ḥîddeqel biblical Hiddekel
Hurrian Aranzah
Kurdish Dîcle, Dîjla دیجلە
Persian Old Persian:

Tags:Akkadian, Arab, Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Arvand, Arvand Rood, Ashur, Baghdad, Baghdad Railway, Basra, Bible, British, Comet, Ctesiphon, Diyala, Elamite, Euphrates, Geography, Greek, Hebrew, Hurrian, India, Iraq, Kurdish, Mesopotamia, Mosul, Nasiriyah, Navigation, Nineveh, Old Persian, Ottoman, Persian, Persian Empire, Seleucia, Semitic, Shatt al-Arab, Syria, Taurus, Thames, Tigris, Tisfun, Turkey, Turkish, Wikipedia, Zab

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