Tel Keppe
Tel Keppe ( TalKayf, Tel Kaif تل كيف in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 or Tilkaif in Kurdish
Kurdish language
Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

), is one of the largest formerly Assyrian towns in Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. It is located in the Ninawa Governorate
Ninawa Governorate
Ninawa is a governorate in northern Iraq, and the Arabic name for the biblical city of Nineveh in Assyria. It has an area of and an estimated population of 2,453,000 people in 2003. Its chief city and provincial capital is Mosul, which lies across the Tigris river from the ruins of ancient...

, less than 8 miles North East of Mosul
Mosul , is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate, some northwest of Baghdad. The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial...

Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

) in northern Iraq.


The name, Tel Keppe, is of Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

 origin and is made of two syllables; "Tel" which means "hill" and "Keppe" which means "stones" i.e. Hill of Stones. Her name comes from its location over a ruined suburb of Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

, capital of old Assyria.

Unfortunately, due to the presence of the only cemetery over the hill that make up Tel Keppe, it has been difficult to excavate the Assyrian ruins of this suburb of Nineveh. However, so far what had been able to be excavated is the water irrigation canals that were built by Assyrian King Sennacherib
Sennacherib |Sîn]] has replaced brothers for me"; Aramaic: ) was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria .-Rise to power:...

 (705- 681 BC) to irrigate the land around Tel Keppe. Also, an excavation by the Iraqi Directorate of Antiquities succeeded in finding vases dating to 2000 years BC, and other items even much older and of a prehistoric time. In addition to that, several old ruins of churches and monasteries dating to early Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 were found in Tel Keppe. Currently, Tel Keppe has 5 old churches, and a large new one.

Disasters of Tel Keppe

As was the case with most of the Assyrian towns around Nineveh, Tel Keppe had its share of the savage attacks of the Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

, Persians, and the Kurds. In 1436, Tel Keppe was attacked by the Mongols, and again in 1508, both attacks resulted in the death of hundreds of its children and the destruction of many of its churches and the burning of its crops. So was the fate of the other Assyrian towns of Tel Esqof, Alqosh
Alqōsh or Alqūsh is one of the most famous Assyrian towns of the mainly East Syrian rite in Iraq. It is located north of Mosul. The name Alqosh is derived from an Akkadian name Eil-Kushtu, where "Eil" means God and "Kushtu" means righteousness or power...

 and its Rabban Hirmizd Monastery.

In 1743, the Persian King Nader Shah attacked Tel Keppe, Karamles
Karamlish is an ancient Assyrian town in Iraq located less than south east of Mosul, and has been occupied by Assyrians for 5000 years....

, Bakhdida
Bakhdida , also known as Baghdeda, Qaraqosh, Karakosh or Al-Hamdaniya, is an Assyrian town in the northern Iraq Ninawa Governorate, located about 32 km southeast of the city of Mosul amid agricultural lands, close to the ruins of the ancient Assyrian cities Nimrud and Nineveh. It is connected...

, Bartella
Bartella is an Assyrian town located less than 13 miles east of Mosul, Iraq. The name Bartella is of Syriac origin, but its meaning is not fully agreed on by the historians...

 and other Assyrian towns savagely. His destructive acts resulted in the death of many thousands and the destruction of their churches and crops. Those who were able to survive did so by fleeing to the mountains.

Tel Keppnias Today

Starting in the 1980's and especially after the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 Invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

, many Assyrians from Tel Keppe fled to many countries, but primarily the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. They set up their lives there with new churches and business for their families.

In The United States

The presence of Tel Keppnias in the United States span a hundred years, however, the largest migrations were those during the last 30 years when Tel Keppnias started leaving Iraq en masse due to discrimination from the large majority of Muslims in the country. In their new homeland, true to their fame as honest and hardworking people, the Tel Keppnias were quick to establish and acquire large & successful businesses. Being free from the discrimination in Iraq from other religions, these prominent Assyrians were able to built a prominent economic empire.

Actually, that economic power manifested itself when President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 ,in 1996, became the first American President to ever meet with an immigrant Middle Eastern community. With that the Assyrians of Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 led by the Tel Keppnias, became that First Middle Eastern community to be recognized by an American President. Also, during Mr. Clintons presidency, his wife, the First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

, was hosted twice by the Tel Keppnias of Detroit.

After the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, the Tel Keppnias led the Assyrians in the United States in mounting a widely publicised campaign to lift the economic sanctions which was imposed on their original homeland, Iraq. Also, large sums of donations were collected and sent to the needy in Iraq without discriminating whether the recipients were Arabs or Assyrians, Muslims or Christians.


Tel Keppnias also fled to the neighboring countries of Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. Many others also left to other countries including Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and European Countries
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...


Famous Tel Keppnias

There are and have been many famous Tel Keppnias in the United States, within Iraq, and elsewhere.


  • Chaldean Patriarch Joseph II Marouf (1667-1713).
  • Author and explorer, Mary Terez Asmar, born in 1806. Published her memoir "Babylonian Princess" in English in 1844.
  • Poet Toma Taqteq, died in 1860.
  • Fr. Shemoel Jamil (1847-1917), who was in charge of all Chaldean monasteries.
  • Journalist Maryam Narmy, born in 1890. Published first Iraqi women's issues "Arabian Woman" newspaper in 1937.
  • Yousif Malik, one of the leaders of the Assyrian movement in Iraq during the 1930's. Author of "The British Betrayal of the Assyrians".
  • Joseph Hirmis Jammo, author of "Nineveh's Ruins or History of TalKayf" published in 1937.
  • Journalist Alexander Marouf.
  • Rofael Babu Ishaq, born in 1893 and author of "History of Iraqi Christians". Died in 1964.


  • Mar Emannuel III Delly
    Emmanuel III Delly
    Mar Emmanuel III Delly is the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and Primate of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic sui juris Particular church of the Catholic Church and a Cardinal. He was born on October 6, 1927 in Tel Keppe and was ordained a priest on December 21, 1952. He was...

    : Patriach of the Chaldean Church of the East.
  • Mar Gabrial Kassab: Bishop of Australia for the Chaldean Church of the East.
  • Mar Ramzi Garmo: Archbishop of Tehran - Iran for the Chaldean Church of the East.
  • Mar Ibrahim Ibrahim: Bishop of the Chaldean Church for the Eastern United States.
  • Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo
    Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo
    Mar Sarhad Yawsip Hermiz Jammo is a prelate of the Chaldean Catholic Church who presides over the Eparchy of St. Peter The Apostle in the United States. He has been the bishop of this diocese since its inception on July 25, 2002. His bishopric currently sits at St. Peter's Chaldean Catholic...

    : Bishop of the Chaldean Church for Western United States
  • Tariq Aziz
    Tariq Aziz
    Tariq Aziz and Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and a close advisor of former President Saddam Hussein. Their association began in the 1950s when both were activists for the then-banned Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party...

    : Was the Foreign Minister
    Foreign minister
    A Minister of Foreign Affairs, or foreign minister, is a cabinet minister who helps form the foreign policy of a sovereign state. The foreign minister is often regarded as the most senior ministerial position below that of the head of government . It is often granted to the deputy prime minister in...

     (1983 – 1991) and Deputy Prime Minister
    Deputy Prime Minister
    A deputy prime minister or vice prime minister is, in some counties, a government minister who can take the position of acting prime minister when the prime minister is temporarily absent. The position is often likened to that of a vice president, but is significantly different, though both...

     (1979 – 2003) of Iraq and a close advisor of former President Saddam Hussein
    Saddam Hussein
    Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

  • Anna Eshoo
    Anna Eshoo
    Anna Georges Eshoo is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, which includes part of Silicon Valley, includes the cities of Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto...

    : She is the U.S. Representative for California's 14th congressional district
    California's 14th congressional district
    California's 14th congressional district is a congressional district in the U.S. state of California. It is located between San Francisco and San Jose. The district includes portions of San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties and most notably contains part of Silicon Valley. Major cities in...

    , serving since 1993.
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