Christian Ruins in Holy Shiite Muslim City in Iraq
An Iraqi archaeologist claims to have uncovered Christian ruins in the holy Shiite Muslim city of Najaf that may be 1,700 years old.
Ali al-Fatli, himself a Shiite, said on-site excavations had revealed several delicately carved remains including crosses that “proved that this building dated back to the Christian period.”
The site lies a hundred meters (328 feet) or so from the airport serving the city of Najaf.
The church, a monastery and other surrounding ruins have emerged from the sand over the past five years with the expansion of the airport, and have excited scholars who think this may be Hira, a legendary Arab Christian center.
Al-Fatli said the ruins were the oldest sign of Christianity in Iraq.
They lie within the airport perimeter and are therefore relatively safe from vandals and looters.
The site’s stone crosses and larger artifacts have now been moved to the National Museum in Baghdad.