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  • The geography of Iraq is diverse and falls into four main regions: the desert (west of the Euphrates River), Upper Mesopotamia (between the upper Tigris and Euphrates rivers), the northern highlands of Iraqi Kurdistan, and Lower Mesopotamia, the alluvial plain extending from around Tikrit to the Persian Gulf. The mountains in the northeast are an extension of the alpine system that runs eastward from the Balkans through southern Turkey, northern Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, eventually reaching the Himalayas. The desert is in the southwest and central provinces along the borders with Saudi Arabia and Jordan and geographically belongs with the Arabian Peninsula. Iraq holds a special distinction in the history of geography: a clay tablet generally accepted as "the earliest known map" was unearthed in 1930 during the excavation of Ga-Sur at Nuzi Yorghan Tepe, near the towns of Harran and Kirkuk, 200 miles (322 km) north of the site of Babylon. The tablet, measuring 6.8 × 7.6 in (173 × 193 mm), is usually dated from the dynasty of Sargon of Akkad between 2,300-2,500 BC; an even earlier date for the tablet was promulgated by archeologist Leo Bagrow, placing it in the Agade Period (3,800 BC).
  • Geography of Iraq
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