Karbala is considered as one of the ancient historical cities of Iraq which belongs to the Babylon age .
Archaeologists found many traces of settlement nearby as the archaeological excavations in Al-Tar caves proved its existence since the late stone age .
Historians disagreed about the etymology of " Karbala" .
Some of them said that it was derived from "Korr Babyl" which is a group of ancient Babylonian villages like Naynawa , Al- Ghadhirya , Karbala (with dark /l/ ) and then Karbala , Okre Babyl , Al-Nawaweese and Al-Ha'ere.
Others said that it was derived from Al- kareb and Al -bala that means (anguish and ordeal) , and it is also named Al-Taf because of its location which is lied at the side of Al-Alkami river .
About 105 Kms. Southwest of Baghdad , Karbala has a unique geographical site , the importance of this city increased in the following periods as it was the centre of communications between Iraq and the Arab Peninsula .
It was also a centre of supplying provisions for the Arab Tribes who lived in the western Desert .
In the Islamic period , Karbala gained its religious and commercial importance in that it was the burial place of Imam al-Hussein bin Ali bin Abi-Talib and his brother al-Abbas "peace be upon them " (grandsons of prophet Mohammad ) with a group of their relatives and companions who scarified with their sacred blood for the sake of Islam and martyred in the catastrophe of al-Taf Battle (61A.H./680A.B.) , so that Karbala is regarded as one of the most important holy cities of Iraq and the Islamic world
Places of Interest in Karbala
1- The Holy shrines of Imam Al-Hussein and Al-Abbas (peace be upon them)
, sons of Ali Bin Abi Talib , are considered in addition to their religious importance , an example of the most exquisite Islamic architectural and decorative designs with their golden minarets , domes and priceless treasures . Also there are another sanctuaries which can be found in different parts of Karbala area like al-Mahdi , al-Mokhayam al-Husseini , Tal al-Zainabia , Ja'far al-Sadiq , al-Math'bah ,the shrines of Abraham al-Mojab, Martyr al-Hur al-Reyahi and Awn bin Abdullah .
2- Al-Razazah Lake :
Fourteen Kms. South west of Karbala , cabins and chalets have been put up and an extensive area was planted to provide facilities for tourists .
3- Al-Tar Caves :
Fifty-five Kms. West of Karbala , lie Al-Tar caves , considered by archeologists as one of the early settlement man in the late Stone Age .
4- Ukhaidhir Fortress :
Fifty Kms. From Karbala , built in the first Abbassian period . It is a huge fortress surrounded by huge walls . It comprises halls , large rooms ,stores , houses baths and a mosque .
5-Ain Al-Tamre :
Eighty Kms. From Karbala , a lovely oasis with palm graves and fruit orchards with springs of mineral waters spread around it .