Tomb of the Biblical Prophet Nahum—Safe for Now

Bible and archaeology news


The shrine before restoration. Photo: Courtesy of the ARCH International Team.

The tomb of the Biblical prophet Nahum will survive to see another day.

On the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq—just 30 miles northeast of Mosul—lies the town of al-Qosh. Many believe this to be the hometown of the Biblical prophet Nahum, whose writings predicted the fall of the Assyrian empire. Nahum’s tomb is enclosed within al-Qosh’s historic synagogue. While the prophet lived in the seventh century B.C.E., his legendary tomb dates to 1173 C.E. It became a popular Jewish pilgrimage destination—but is also revered by Christians and Muslims.

By around 1950, al-Qosh’s Jewish community had deserted the town due to hostility from the government. The remaining inhabitants—mostly Christian—did their best to protect the site, but decades of war, conflict, and lack of resources took their toll. The shrine fell into disrepair with part of its roof caving in, some walls crumbling, arches cracking, and columns tilting.

It was then—in 2017—that the Alliance for the Restoration of Cultural Heritage (ARCH) actively stepped in. Teaming up with the GEMA Art Group, a Czech company specializing in historic restorations, ARCH managed to stabilize the shrine and stop its deterioration. The community of al-Qosh welcomed the restoration efforts and hope that soon pilgrims will begin visiting the prophet’s tomb once again.


Conservation efforts at the Biblical prophet Nahum’s tomb. Photo: Courtesy of the ARCH International Team.

From Babylon to Baghdad: Ancient Iraq and the Modern West examines the relationship between ancient Iraq and the origins of modern Western society. This free eBook details some of the ways in which ancient Near Eastern civilizations have impressed themselves on Western culture and chronicles the present-day fight to preserve Iraq’s cultural heritage.

Related reading in Bible History Daily:

Trove of Assyrian Clay Tablets Unearthed in Iraqi Kurdistan

The Cave of Elijah the Prophet under Threat?

Isaiah’s Signature Uncovered in Jerusalem

Minor Prophets in the Bible: Amos by John Ahn

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  • Helen says

    Kind of sounds like a Medieval tourist trap rather than the actual grave site of Nahum. Religious pilgrimage (tourism) was big business in the Middle Ages.

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