Sura was a city in the southern part of ancient Babylonia, located west of the Euphrates River. It was well known for its agricultural produce, which included grapes, wheat, and barley. It was also a major center of Torah scholarship, and home of an important yeshiva, which, together with the yeshivas in Pumbedita and Nehardea, gave rise to the Babylonian Talmud.
According to Rav Sherira Gaon, Sura (Hebrew: סורא) was identical to the town of Mata Mehasia (מתא מחסיא), which is also mentioned in the Talmud, however, Matha-Mehasia is cited in the Talmud, many times, either as a nearby town or a suburb of Sura, and the Talmudist academy in Matha-Mehasia was sometimes moved or served as an additional branch to the Talmudist academy of Sura. The academy at Sura was founded by Rav (Abba Arika) in the third century.
A Syriac source describes it as a town completely inhabited by Jews, situated between Māḥōzē (i.e. Al-Mada'in) and Al-Hira in Southern Iraq. A responsum of Rabbi Natronai Gaon says that Sura was about 6 km from Al-Hira.