Mosul is a major city in northern Iraq, serving as the capital of Nineveh Governorate. Approximately 400 km north of Baghdad, Mosul lies on the Tigris river. The Mosul metropolitan area has grown from the old city on the western side to encompass substantial areas on both the "Left Bank" and the "Right Bank", as locals call the two riverbanks. Mosul encloses the ruins of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on its east side.
Mosul and its surroundings have an ethnically and religiously diverse population; a large majority of its population are Arabs, with Assyrians, Turkmens, and Kurds, and other, smaller ethnic minorities comprising the rest of the city's population. Sunni Islam is the largest religion, but there are a significant number of Christians, as well as adherents of other sects of Islam and various other minority religions.
Mosul is considered to be among the larger and more historically and culturally significant cities of the Arab World. Due to Mosul's strategic location it has traditionally serving as a hub of international commerce and travel.