Ancient city, Middle East. Located near present-day Al-Kufah in south-central Iraq, in the 5th–6th centuries AD it was the capital of the Lakhmid dynasty, which itself was subordinate to the Sasanian dynasty of Persia. The city was a diplomatic, political, and military centre and an important station on the Persia-Arabia caravan route. Tradition holds that the Arabic script was developed there. Also the seat of a bishopric for Nestorian Christians, it promoted Christian monotheism in the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Hirah began to decline following the collapse of the Lakhmids early in the 7th century, and in 633 the city was taken by the Muslims.
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