Kashkar, also known as Kaskar, was a
city in southern Mesopotamia. Its name appears to originate from Syriac
karka meaning "citadel" or "town". Other sources
connect it to kaškarutá "farming". It was originally
built on the Tigris, across the river from the later medieval city of
The city was originally a significant
Sasanian city built on the west bank of the Tigris where Greek speaking
deportees from north-western Syria were settled by Shapur I in the mid
third century A.D.
to Syriac tradition, Mar Mari is said to have preached and performed
miracles and converted many of its inhabitants to Christianity. Kashkar
became an important centre of Christianity in lower Mesopotamia and
had its own diocese which lay under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchal
Province of Seleucia-Ctesiphon.
During a flood the Tigris burst its
banks leaving Kashkar on its east bank. The medieval city of Wasit was
built on the west bank of the new channel by al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, who
drew off the population of Kashkar, which eventually turned it to a
ghost town. By the middle of the twelfth century Kashkar ceased to exist
as a bishopric see.