Kurdistan: Recovering a Garden of Paradise, Photo Gallery
Iraqi Kurdistan, a region in northern Mesopotamia, is home to mountains, steppes, and pastures that were part of the Fertile Crescent: the birthplace of agriculture—and, indeed, civilization. There, ancient farmers nurtured a wealth of crops that would become staples throughout the world. Today, after years of wars and sanctions, Kurdistan is reengaging its land. As it negotiates the challenges of a new era, native plants and crops remain a defining feature of the landscape and people—how long can the agricultural heritage last?
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Many Kurdish farmers maintain traditional methods of harvesting. At the foot of the mountains, farmers cut grain with a scythe and gather bundles of barley on their backs. Cultivated and wild grains have been ubiquitous on the Kurdish landscape for a long time; wheat, barley, and lentils were first domesticated here around 8000 B.C.