GPS Coordinates: 36.694609, 43.350077
Shekhan is located 60 km Southeast of Duhok, and is one of the oldest towns in Duhok Province. The name Shekhan refers to the holy Sheiks who have lived there: Sheikh Adi, Sheikh Adi II, and Sheikh Hassen. An old Christian source refers to the town as Ain Sifne, which shows its ancient history. Shekan has 160 000 inhabitants and four municipalities: Qesrouk, Zilkan, Atroush, and Baadra. Kurds, Arabs, Yazidis, and Christians live in these regions.Shekhan is famous for its agricultural products, especially wheat and barley. Recently, oil and other natural resources have been discovered in the area. Shekhan is also home to great historical battle sites such as the battle of Gaugamela between Alexander the Great and Darius III in the year 331 B.C near Tell Gomel, close to the modern village of Kalakchi. This battle defined the reign of Alexander the Great with his victory over Darius III.
Khinis Relief Museum
The outdoor museum lies 16 km northeast of Shekan, in the Khinis Valley east of the Gomel River. This ancient site was built by the Assyrian King Sennacherib (700 B.C.), who named it Khanosa. The rock reliefs and tombs are considered the finest ancient rock carvings in the Badinan Region. Many reliefs were carved into the rock above ground, and their majesty is still visible to this day. Many tourists flock to see the Winged Bull, Sennacherib and two gods, different tombs, the gate with cuneiform writings, and the water canal tunnel.
Lalesh Temple is 11 km north of Shekhan, and is the holiest site of the Yazidi faith. Yazidis believe that Lalesh is the place where Noah’s Ark disembarked after the great flood, thus according to Yazidis, Lalesh gave birth to the reemergence of civilization. Thousands of Yazidis come to the Lalesh Temple from many countries to drink its holy spring water. Yazidis celebrate their Spring Festival on the first Wednesday of March. Lalesh is open to all people from all religions. Yazidis are a Kurdish religious community that practice Yazidism, which is one of the world’s oldest religions.