One of the most famous rivers in the world has played a crucial role in human history. In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of interesting Tigris River facts.
The river played an important role during World War I
The river also played an important role during the British conquest of Ottoman Mesopotamia during World War I. Ships were used to supply the British army which played crucial roles during the Siege of Kut and this eventually culminated in the Fall of Baghdad in 1917. After World War I, the river was slowly replaced by transport over land as the Basra-Baghdad-Mosul railway was established, as well as the completion of the Baghdad Railway near the capital city itself.
The 2 rivers join each other but that was not always the case
The river flows all through Iraq and eventually drains into the Persian Gulf. One of the most intriguing facts is that it first joins the Euphrates river to form the “Shatt al-Arab,” the river formed from the confluence of the two major rivers.
This confluence happens near a town called “al-Qurnah” and flows for approximately 200 kilometers (120 miles) before draining into the Persian Gulf near the port city of Basra. According to Roman historian Pliny the Elder, who lived in the 1st century A.D., this confluence didn’t actually exist about 2,000 years ago, and both the Tigris and the Euphrates were directly released into the Persian Gulf back then.
Тhe river has an important role in religion and mythology
The river has been considered sacred for multiple millennia, and that’s understandable because it creates a livable environment in the entire region. It started with the Sumerians who believed that the river was created by the water god called “Enki.” The river is also mentioned in the Bible as the third of the four rivers emerging from the river flowing out of the Garden of Eden. Finally, in the Book of Daniel, he mentioned that he received a vision while he was near “that great river the Tigris.”
Its name was derived from a word in an ancient language
The first real people that settled in the area were the Sumerians who established themselves between the sixth and fifth millennium B.C. and thrived around 3,000 B.C. They grew crops by irrigating the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and were able to build the first urban settlements. That’s why it’s believed that the word “Tigris” was derived from the ancient Sumerian word Idigna or Idigina, which meant “running water.” This was then derived into Akkadian, the next civilization famous for presumably building the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, as “Idiqlat,” meaning “swift water.”
It’s the eastern river in an important historical region
One of the most important historical regions in the world is called Mesopotamia. It’s believed that this is the place where the first civilizations emerged during the so-called Neolithic Revolution which started around 10,000 B.C. This region covers most parts of modern-day Iraq and Kuwait and also parts of eastern Syria and southeastern Turkey. The Tigris River, along with its western counterpart, the Euphrates River, was a critical part of the so-called “Fertile Crescent” which allowed this otherwise desolate desert region to thrive.
The river flows through 3 different countries and 2 deserts
The Tigris River has a total length of 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles), which means it’s quite a bit shorter than the Euphrates which has a total length of approximately 2,800 kilometers (1,700 miles). Its basin covers a total area of 375,000 square kilometers (145,000 square miles). It flows all the way from the southeast of Turkey, through Turkish Kurdistan, for about 400 kilometers (248 miles), and subsequently becomes part of the Syrian-Turkish border. That’s also the only strip in which it runs through Syria for about 44 kilometers (27 miles).
It originates in a mountain range in eastern Turkey
It emerges in the Taurus Mountains of eastern Turkey, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) to the southeast of the city of Elazig. This is also near a rift lake called Lake Hazar, which is often referred to as the source of the Tigris. One of the most interesting Tigris River facts is that its source is also close to the source of the Euphrates River, which is situated about 30 kilometers (18 miles) away.