Nineveh was a major urban center in northern Mesopotamia from a very early date: for modern archaeologists, the site gives its name to an important prehistoric pottery style However, the city is best known today for its much later role as the final capital of the Assyrian empire. The Assyrian capital changed several times in the early first millennium B. The Southwest Palace was larger than any of its predecessors, and its walls were lined with stone bas-reliefs throughout its rooms and colossal winged bulls and lions at key gateways, continuing and expanding traditions begun in the ninth century B.
Assyrians are predominantly Christian, mostly adhering to the East and West Syrian liturgical rites of Christianity.
Much as a common language links all Assyrians together, Assyrian customs, even if they have been greatly modified over time, provide a cultural link between Assyrians around the world. At least to some extent, the rituals and religious rites that accompany life's milestones -- primarily birth, marriage or death -represent what it means to be Assyrian. Although their origins are often difficult to trace, the rituals practiced by contemporary Assyrians are perhaps as old as the days of ancient Assyria, and have been treasured and guarded through the centuries. These ancestral traditions may be observed out of respect for the older generation, but they also represent wisdom and moral values, and perhaps Assyrian culture itself.
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