Image of Sumerian trees

Rivers in Sumeria

The name Mesopotamia comes from ancient Greek root words μέσος (meso) "middle" and ποταμός (potamia) "river" - the land in between rivers. The two rivers Euphrates and Tigris were extremely important for people in ancient Sumeria, providing water to a barren land and being the easiest way of transport. The need for irrigation canals off the two rivers was one of the main drivers for the rise of the earliest civilisation on earth.


Euphrates is the longest and the southernmost of the two great rivers. It originates in Turkey, and runs through Syria and Iraq.

Euphrates receives most of its water in the form of rainfall and melting snow, resulting in peak volumes during the months April through May. Compared to the Nile, the Euphrates and Tigris has stronger and more damaging floods during the ancient era. In the modern times, dams has reduced the output and flooding from Euphrates. Euphrates is about 2,800 km long.


Tigris is one of the two main rivers that runs through Mesopotamia. It orginates in present day Turkey, then runs through Syria and Iraq.

The Tigris river also experienced strong flooding in April and May. It is approximately 1,900 km in length.

Diyala River

This river originates in the Zagros mountains (present-day Iran) and flows into the Tigris.

The Diyala river is 440 km long, and at times is the border between present-day Iraq and Iran.

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