Nineveh, an ancient city and the capital of Assyria when the empire was at the height of its power. Nineveh was on the east bank of the Tigris River, opposite modern Mosul, Iraq. The massive city walls had a circumference of 8 miles (13 km) and enclosed 1,800 acres (728 hectares), but most of the city was outside the walls. Nineveh had extensive canals, well-tended orchards and gardens, impressive temples, and magnificent palaces. The palace of Sennacherib had more than 70 rooms and was ornamented with sculptured bas-reliefs on the walls. The library had many thousands of clay tablets with cuneiform writing.
Nineveh was thousands of years old when Sennacherib early in the seventh century B.C. made the city his capital and extensively rebuilt it. For nearly a century Nineveh was the center of an empire and was probably the largest and most magnificent city in the world. In 612 B.C. the Chaldeans (Neo-Babylonians) and Medes captured and devastated Nineveh and destroyed the Assyrian empire. Modern excavation has uncovered the palace and the library. Cuneiform tablets in the library have provided valuable historical information.