Assyria was a major Mesopotamian East Semitic kingdom, and often empire, of the Ancient Near East, existing as an independent state for a period of approximately nineteen centuries from c. 2500 BC to 605 BC. Centered on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia (northern Iraq, northeast Syria and southeastern Turkey), the Assyrians came to rule powerful empires at several times, the last of which grew to be the largest and most powerful empire the world had yet seen. As a substantial part of the greater Mesopotamian “cradle of civilization” which included Sumer, Akkad and laterBabylonia, Assyria was at the height of technological, scientific and cultural achievements for its time. At its peak, the Assyrian empire stretched from Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea to Persia (Iran), and from the Caucasus Mountains(Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan) to the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt. May also be mentioned as Subartu, Athura, Atouria, Assuristan or Azuhinum.