Tigris River At Diyarbakir.JPG
About 100 km from its source, the Tigris enables rich agriculture in Diyarbakır Province.
CountryTurkey, Syria, Iraq
CitiesDiyarbakır, Mosul, Baghdad
Physical characteristics
SourceLake Hazar[citation needed]
 ⁃ coordinates38°29′0″N 39°25′0″E / 38°29′0″N 39°25′0″E / 38.48333; 39.41667
 ⁃ elevation1,150 m (3,770 ft)
MouthShatt al-Arab
 ⁃ location
Al-Qurnah, Basra Governorate, Iraq
Length1,850 km (1,150 mi)
Basin size375,000 km2 (145,000 sq mi)
 ⁃ locationBaghdad
 ⁃ average1,014 m3/s (35,800 cu ft/s)
 ⁃ minimum337 m3/s (11,900 cu ft/s)
 ⁃ maximum2,779 m3/s (98,100 cu ft/s)
Basin features
 ⁃ leftGarzan, Botan, Khabur, Greater Zab, Lesser Zab, 'Adhaim, Cizre, Diyala
 ⁃ rightWadi Tharthar
[1] [2]
Batman River

The Tigris (s/; Sumerian: 𒁇𒄘𒃼 Idigna or Idigina; Akkadian: 𒁇𒄘𒃼 Idiqlat; Arabic: دجلةDijlah [didʒlah]; Syriac: ܕܹܩܠܵܬDeqlaṯ; Armenian: Տիգրիս Tigris; Դգլաթ Dglatʿ; Hebrew: חידקל Ḥîddeqel; Turkish: Dicle; Kurdish: Dîcle, Dîjla دیجلە‎) is the eastern of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq and empties into the Persian Gulf.


The Tigris is 1,750 km long, rising in the Taurus Mountains of eastern Turkey about 25 km southeast of the city of Elazig and about 30 km from the headwaters of the Euphrates. The river then flows for 400 km through Turkish territory before becoming the border between Syria and Turkey. This stretch of 44 km is the only part of the river that is located in Syria.[1]

Close to its confluence with the Euphrates, the Tigris splits into several channels. First, the artificial Shatt al-Hayy branches off, to join the Euphrates near Nasiriyah. Second, the Shatt al-Muminah and Majar al-Kabir branch off to feed the Central Marshes. Further downstream, two other distributary channels branch off (the Al-Musharrah and Al-Kahla), which feed the Hawizeh Marshes. The main channel continues southwards and is joined by the Al-Kassarah, which drains the Hawizeh Marshes. Finally, the Tigris joins the Euphrates near al-Qurnah to form the Shatt-al-Arab. According to Pliny and other ancient historians, the Euphrates originally had its outlet into the sea separate from that of the Tigris.[3]

Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, stands on the banks of the Tigris. The port city of Basra straddles the Shatt al-Arab. In ancient times, many of the great cities of Mesopotamia stood on or near the Tigris, drawing water from it to irrigate the civilization of the Sumerians. Notable Tigris-side cities included Nineveh, Ctesiphon, and Seleucia, while the city of Lagash was irrigated by the Tigris via a canal dug around 2900 B.C.