Calah (kāˈlə) [key] or Kalakh käˈläkh, ancient city of Assyria, S of Nineveh and therefore S of present Mosul, Iraq. Known as Calah in the Bible, it is the same as the ancient Nimrud, named after a legendary Assyrian hunting hero. Calah emerged as a famous city when Ashurnasirpal II chose (c.880 B.C.) the site for his capital. Excavations carried on since the mid-19th cent. have revealed remarkable bas-reliefs, ivories, and sculptures. Also discovered were the palaces of Ashurnasirpal II, Shalmaneser III, and Tiglathpileser III. Calah continued to be a royal residence even after Nineveh became the political capital. The famous black obelisk of Shalmaneser III was discovered in Calah by A. H. Layard in 1846.
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