On September 15, 2013, a flotilla of traditional Mesopotamian boats will embark down the Tigris River on an historic voyage of celebration, education, and data collection. Over the course of several weeks and over 1200 kilometers flowing from southeastern Turkey to southern Iraq, the Tigris River Flotilla will celebrate the cultural heritage of Mesopotamia, bring environmental awareness to riverside communities, and study the river's current hydrological condition.
Throughout the course of the journey, participants from different countries will float down the river using modern and traditional boats. The traditional boats – a tarada, a guffa, and a kalak – were built by local communities in both Turkey and Iraq in celebration of the unique cultural heritage of these communities and unite their people through common tradecraft. Using these traditional boats, Nature Iraq and its partners will host a combination of presentations on water quality and vulnerable ecosystems, environmental clean-up events, and community-based art projects to raise awareness about the mounting threats to the Tigris River and the cultural and environmental resources it provides.
With scheduled events in Hasankeyf, Turkey, Feys Khabor, Iraq, Baghdad, and Chibaish in the Mesopotamian Marshlands, the Flotilla will connect water conservation issues with local peoples’ daily lives and raise global awareness of this endangered ecosystem. Along the way, Nature Iraq and its partners will use local media, interactive maps, the Tigris River Flotilla blog (www.connectmesopotamia.org), and the Tigris River Flotilla Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheTigrisRiverFlotilla) to bring the world onboard the traditional boats of this historic voyage.
Ammar Zakri, CEO, at +964 770 211 6258 (Arabic, English)
Jantine van Herwijnen, Program Coordniator, at +964 770 461 5071 (English, Dutch)
Shoxan Babarasul, Program Officer, at +964 214 5457 (Kurdish, English)
For pictures and more information on the traditional boats, please see the Nature Iraq Foundation website.