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A dunam or dönüm, dunum, donum is a unit of area used in the Ottoman Empire and still used, in various standardized versions, in many countries formerly part of the Ottoman Empire. It was defined as "forty standard paces in length and breadth",[1] but varied considerably from place to place.



The name dönüm, from the Ottoman Turkish دونمك / dönmek (to turn) appears to be a calque of the Byzantine stremma and had the same size. It was likely adopted by the Ottomans from the Byzantines in Mysia-Bithynia.[2] In Arabic, the word is spelled دونم (dūnam).


In Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, the dunam is 1,000 square metres (10,764 sq ft). Before the end of the Ottoman Empire and during the early years of the British Mandate of Palestine, the size of a dönüm was 919.3 square metres (9,895 sq ft), but in 1928 the metric dunam of 1,000 square metres (0.10 ha) was adopted, and this is still used.[3]



In Northern Cyprus the donum is 14,400 square feet (1,338 m2). In the Republic of Cyprus older Greek Cypriots also still refer to the donum, although this is gradually being replaced by another local Greek Cypriot dialect word, σκάλες (ska′les), rather than the mainland Greek word stremma. However, officially Cyprus uses the square metre.


In Iraq, the dunam is 2,500 square metres (0.25 ha).


In Bulgaria it is called dekar (декар) and is equal to 1000 sq m.


Other countries using a dunam of some size include Libya, Syria, and the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

The Greek stremma has the same size as the metric dunam.

The metric dunam is particularly useful in hydrological calculations as 1 dunam times 1 mm (a unit commonly used for measuring precipitation) equals exactly one cubic meter.

The dunam is not an SI unit.


A metric dunam is equal to:


  1. ^ V.L. Ménage, Review of Speros Vryonis, Jr. The decline of medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the process of islamization from the eleventh through the fifteenth century, Berkeley, 1971; in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) 36:3 (1973), pp. 659-661. at JSTOR (subscription required)
  2. ^ Ménage, op.cit.
  3. ^ El-Eini, Roza I.M. (2006). "Currency and Measures". Mandated landscape: British imperial rule in Palestine, 1929-1948. Routledge. p. xxiii. ISBN 9780714654263.,M1. Retrieved 2009-05-05.  

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