Sulaymaniyah Museum

The Sulaymaniyah Museum (Kurdish: مۆزه‌خانه‌ی سلێمانی; Arabic: متحف السليمانية), or Slemani Museum, is an archeological museum located within heart of Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. It is the second largest museum in Iraq, after the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad.[1] It houses artifacts dating from the prehistoric period to the late Islamic and Ottoman periods. Several halls of the Museum have undergone renovation work and the Museum was closed to the public for refurbishment from October 1, 2018, to October 2019.

The Sulaymaniyah Museum
Slemani Museum logo.png
The Sulaymaniyah Museum.JPG
School children are visiting the Sulaymaniyah Museum
EstablishedJuly 14, 1961
LocationSulaymaniyah, Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
TypeArchaeological museum
DirectorHashim Hama Abdullah



The Museum was opened officially on July 14, 1961. Initially, it was composed of a small building in the Shorsh District. After several years, the Museum acquired a new and large building in the heart of Salim Street in the year 1980 CE. The current building has an area of 6000 square meters and is a one-story building. The artifacts are displayed in one small hall (which was recently renovated by the UNESCO) and two large and long halls which are connected by a square-shaped and open lecture hall. During the Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988 CE), the Museum was closed entirely to the public. It was reopened for a very short period in 1990 CE. After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 CE, the Museum was closed once again. It was re-opened officially by Mr. Jalal Talabani on August 20, 2000 CE; Mr. Talabani was the secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan at that time.[2]


After the US-led invasion of Iraq and subsequent looting of the National Museum in Baghdad, The Sulaymaniyah Museum helped to recover and return stolen artifacts through the controversial practice of buying looted artifacts.[3]


Since 2011 CE, the Museum has been collaborating with the UNESCO to develop and renovate the Museum and expand its building.[4]

Paikuli GalleryEdit

The Paikuli Gallery at the Sulaymaniyah Museum, final preparations before official opening

The Sulaymaniyah Museum in collaboration with the Sapienza University of Rome opened a new gallery on June 10, 2019. The gallery was sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAECI) and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage (MiBAC). All of the inscribed stone blocks (including many newly discovered ones after 2006) of the commemorative monument of the Sassanian king Narseh (c., 293 CE) were displayed for the very first time to the public. In addition, many building stone blocks and some Sassanian coins and bullae were also included in this permanent exhibition.[5]

Selmani Museum KidsEdit

Slemani Museum Kids

On September 5, 2019, the Sulaymaniyah Museum inaugurated a hall dedicated to children and called it "Slemani Museum Kids". The hall has many teaching and demonstrative tools for children. This small museum is the first bespoke museum space for children in Iraq. The Consul General of the UK in Kurdistan, Slemani governor, and director-general of the directorate of archaeology and antiquities in Kurdistan have attended the event, as well as many other high-ranking officials in Kurdistan Region in addition to the public. Slemani Museum Kids was a co-creation of the project Archaeological Practice and Heritage Protection in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The project is led by the University of Glasgow (UK) in collaboration with the Slemani Directorate of Antiquities and Inherit (UK) and is funded by the British Council's Cultural Protection Fund, in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport.[6]

Prehistory GalleryEdit

The Sulaymaniyah Museum renovated two large halls in order to open a new permanent exhibition displaying hundreds of artifacts dating back to the prehistoric period. The artifacts mainly came from Iraqi Kurdistan and its Paleolithic caves, in addition to several recently excavated ancient sites and mounds. The project was sponsored by the Embassy of the United States of America. The exhibition was supposed to be opened in early March 2020, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, the inauguration date was deferred.[7]



  1. ^ "Sulaymaniyah Museum opens its first renovated halls to public". UNESCO. 2013-07-26. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  2. ^ "History". Slemani Museum. Archived from the original on 29 Sep 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Slemani Museum tires to return stolen artifacts". Kurdsat Television. 2011-12-13. Archived from the original on January 4, 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  4. ^ "The Museum". Archived from the original on 29 Sep 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Sapienza in Iraq: Italo-Kurdish Collaboration to Protect the Archaeological Heritage of Paikuli". Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  6. ^ "The Slemani Museum Kids has been opened officially". Slemani Museum. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  7. ^ "Grants". Retrieved 18 March 2020.

Coordinates: 35°33′27.25″N 45°25′32.95″E / 35.5575694°N 45.4258194°E / 35.5575694; 45.4258194