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Zakho (Kurdish: Zaxo, Arabic: زاخو) is a city in the Dahuk Governorate of Iraqi Kurdistan, near the border with Turkey. The river Khabur passes the town, which has a population of nearly 95,000 people.
Zakho is Kurdish and comes from za, the past stem of the verb zan (to be born) and xo [kho], a dialectic version of the pronoun xwe [khwa] (self). Thus, Zakho means self-born.
Another theory is that the name originated from the phrase that contains the two words "Za /Za/" which means "gave birth to" and "Xoyn /khoin/" which means "blood." Thus, it may mean "gave birth to blood," since many battles were fought and lots of blood was shed in Zakho.
Zakho is located just a few kilometers from the Iraqi Kurdistan-Turkish border. Due to this, Zakho has served as a checkpoint for many decades. It also made Zakho a strategic city for both the former Iraqi and the new Kurdish governments. It has become a major market place with its goods and merchandizes serving not only the Kurdish controlled area, but most of north and middle Iraq.
Due to its strategic location and the abundance of job opportunities, Zakho has attracted many workers and job seekers from different parts of Iraq and even from Syria and Turkey. It is estimated that Zakho's current population is around 150,000 and still growing.
Recently, the Kurdish Regional Government has begun drilling oil near Zakho, which should create even more jobs.
One of Zakho's famous landmarks is the Delal Bridge (Pira Delal). The bridge is made with large stones which not only adds to the aesthetic value of the bridge, but also makes it a source of many theories as to how it was built. (the stones are very large and there was no machinery available at that time).
Many Chaldo-Assyrians now living in diaspora came from Zakho.
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