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|Prior to ISIS - 5,000|
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Batnaya (Syriac: ܒܛܢܝܐ) is an Assyrian town in northern Iraq located 14 miles north of Mosul and around 3 miles north of Tel Keppe. All of its citizens fled to Iraqi Kurdistan after the ISIS invasion on August 6, 2014. Currently the town is empty, as ISIS continues to maintain control.
The name Batnaya is of Syriac origin derived from either "Beth Tnyay" meaning "The House of Mud" or "Beth Tnaya" meaning "The House of Assiduity."
Batnaya used to be called "Beth Madaye" meaning the "House of the Medes" where it's believed that a group of the Medes who followed the Assyrian monk Oraham (Abraham) settled there around the seventh century. It's also believed that Christianity reached Batnaya around that time.
Batnaya was attacked by the army of Nader Shah in 1743 who destroyed the village extensively and is believed to have killed half of its inhabitants.
In the past Batnaya used to be famous for making matting from the reeds its people used to cultivate in the valley of al-Khoser river. Currently, some of its inhabitants are cultivating different kinds of crops while others are involved in non-agricultural trades.
In 1944 the Mar Qeryaqos Church was built on the ruins of a monastery by the same name believed to have been built early 15th century. A second but smaller church Mart Maryam was built in 1966, while the church of Mar Gewargis was mentioned in an inscription dating 1745.
In Batnaya are several inscriptions, one dating to 1545 by Darweesh bin Yohanan from the village of Aqreen is entitled "Prayers for the Dead", another one is a complete bible inscribed in Syriac by the priest Ataya bin Faraj bin Marqos of Alqosh dating 1586.
As with all the other currently Assyrian villages that belong to the Chaldean Catholic Church, Batnaya's Assyrians used to follow the Church of the East until the sixteenth century, when the efforts of the Catholic Church came to fruition and the Church of the East was divided. However, as is the case with all the other villages of the Nineveh Plains, Catholicism did not gain ground till around mid 18th century.
During the 17th and 19th centuries, the town had about 900 Assyrians; in 1995, the town grew to about 3,000 people. Today, it exceeds over 6,000 people and is rising. All the people in the town are Assyrian and belong to the Chaldean Catholic Church.
Modern day Batnaya
In 2007, because of the growth of the town, Sargis Aghajan built 25 new model houses near the Mar Oraha Monastery, which is beside the town. The Provision of municipal services to the village and monastery through the supply of two tractors for harvest & agriculture, and a dumper to collect garbage as well as employment of labourers to clean the access roads in the village. The village is on the border of the so-called "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" and Iraqi Kurdistan, so it often flip flops between the Kurds and ISIS. As of February 2015, it is controlled by an Assyrian Christian militia.
- Originally based on an article by betnahrain.net , licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, used with permission.