Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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Iraq Travel Guide: The Cradle of Modern Civilization

Iraq has been through many wars, natural disasters, and political turmoil in the past few decades. However, it is a country with a vibrant history and culture, and delicious cuisine. It is full of splendid architecture, religious sites, and fascinating ancient remains that are more than worth visiting. If you’re considering traveling to Iraq, read on Iraq travel guide to find out more about this fascinating country and its incredible tourist destinations.

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Iraq Travel Guide

Knowing more about the country you’re about the visit is always a good idea, so let’s go through this Iraq travel guide to know some basic facts to freshen up your knowledge before the trip:

Iraq is a country in Western Asia with a population of about 40 million people.

Although most of Iraq’s population is Arab, there are also numerous minority ethnic groups, such as Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians, Yazidis, Shabaks, and Armenians.

The country of Iraq is home to a diverse range of religions. Most of the population is Muslim, with a Sunni and Shia split. Other religious groups, such as Christians, Yazidis, and Mandaeans, are also present.

Much of Iraq has a hot, arid climate with a subtropical influence. During fall and spring, the temperature is more comfortable and suitable for visitors.

Iraqi Arabic, a unique Arabic dialect, is the official language of this country. You can get along with English since it’s a popular second language in Iraq.

Iraqi Dinar is the official currency of this country. You can easily exchange dollars for dinars at exchange shops in major cities. If you want to learn more about the Iraqi dinar, you can do that here: https://usfirstexchange.com/why-people-invest-in-iraqi-dinar.

In recent years, the Iraqi government has tried to attract visitors to this country, and domestic tourism has steadily improved. Numerous ancient sites have been excavated in Iraq, many of which are adjacent to major cities.

Also Read: Top 3 Places to Must Visit in Saudi Arabia

Top Destinations in Iraq

There is no shortage of exciting destinations when exploring Iraq; the country offers plenty of intriguing options for those seeking a unique cultural and historical experience. Hope this Iraq travel guide covers all of them.

Each city presents out-of-this-world sights that stay with you long after your journey ends. So throw caution to the wind and check out one of these fantastic places – who knows where roads may take you!

Baghdad

Baghdad City, Iraq

As expected, the historical city of Baghdad comes first in our Iraq travel Guide. Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, is the second-largest city in the Arab world, right behind Kairo in Egypt. Near the city of Baghdad are ruins of the ancient cities of Babylon and Ctesiphon. Lying on the Tigris river, this wonderful city, rich in culture and historical legacy, has a lot to offer to its visitors.

Baghdad is a major cultural, commercial, and intellectual center for Muslims worldwide. With several significant academic institutions and a multi-ethnic and multi-religious environment, it is well deserving of its reputation as the “Center of Learning.”

Here are some of the most notable destinations to visit in Baghdad:

Mutanabbi Street

Mutanabbi Street, Iraq

Mutanabbi Street, known for being the hub of bookselling, is Baghdad’s intellectual and literary core of Baghdad. The Baghdad Book Market It is often regarded as one of the oldest book markets in the world. Additionally, The annual International Book Fair in Baghdad is often viewed as a promising publishing event in the region following the years of unrest.

Mutanabbi Street is enchanting, full of outdoor book stalls, street artists and performers, chai and coffee sellers, and locals and tourists constantly mingling around. Visiting this area is crucial to experience the heartbeat of Baghdad.

The Iraq Museum

The Iraq Museum

The assets of this museum are among the most significant in the world due to the priceless antiquities of Mesopotamia.

The Iraq Museum’s collections include works of art and relics from the ancient civilizations of Assyria, Sumer, and Babylon. It is also home to numerous pre-Islamic and Islamic Arabian art pieces and artifacts.

The Nimrud gold collection stands out among this museum’s many remarkable collections. Jewelry and figures made of precious stone date to the 9th century BCE, and the collection of stone sculptures and tablets from Uruk dates between 3500 and 3000 BCE.

Martyr’s Monument

Martyr's Monument

Iraqi sculptor Ismail Fatah Al Turk created this glorious monument in Baghdad. Since its initial dedication to Iraqi soldiers who died in the Iran-Iraq War, it is now widely regarded as a memorial to all Iraqi martyrs.

The architectural masterpiece is uniquely designed to make a visual illusion: from some angles, it appears to be a single dome, while from others, it looks like a divided dome.

Grand Festivities Square

Grand Festivities Square Baghdad

This square is the focal point of local public celebrations and the site of three significant memorials honoring Iraq’s heroes and fallen soldiers: the Victory Arch, The Unknown Soldier’s Monument, and the Al-Shaheed Monument.

Religious Sites

Iraq Religious Sites

There are various beautiful mosques and shrines in Baghdad to see. The most prominent ones include:

  • Umm al-Qura Mosque
  • Abu Hanifa Mosque
  • Al-Kadhimiya Mosque
  • Saray Mosque
  • Khilani Mosque

You can also visit Christian religious sites in Baghdad, such as the Armenian Orthodox Church of Baghdad, or the Roman Catholic St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Shorja market, Baghdad.

Hatra

hatra

Hatra lies 290 km (180 mi) northwest of Baghdad and is considered one of the most impressive archeological sites in the world. The ruins of this ancient city are under international protection as a Unesco Heritage Site.

Hatra was once the center of a small Arab kingdom and a caravan city that was a prime destination for artisans, merchants, and other professions from all over the middle east.

Located between the Roman and Parthian empires, Hatra was very developed and prosperous in the 2nd century, but in the third century, it was abandoned and ultimately destroyed. In the 19th century, its striking ruins were excavated.

This site was renewed by Saddam Hussein but suffered significant destruction by ISIS again in 2015. However, it has reopened recently after a partial renovation project by a team of archeologists, with the rest of the renovation underway.

Sulaymaniyah

Sulaymaniyah

This metropolitan city in the Kurdistan region is home to about 800,000 people and is a popular tourist destination. It is an economic and cultural hub of this region, with rich museums, art galleries, street bazaars, and restaurants. It is the friendliest, most modern, and most relaxing city in Iraq; foreigners consider it generally safe and comfortable to visit.

Sulaymaniyah is famous for its museums. The Sulaimani Museum is the second biggest museum in the country, after the national museum in Baghdad. It has Mesopotamian, Kurdish, and Persian artifacts dating back to 1750 BC. The remains of a Roman amphitheater are an essential tourist attraction in this city.

Erbil

Erbil

Erbil is the capital city of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, with a large population of 1,6 million.

The city was designated as the Arab Tourism Capital in 2014 by the Arab Council of Tourism. The Ancient Citadel of Erbil And Mudhafaria Minaret are the city’s heart and the main attractions.

The glorious citadel of Erbil has been a part of the World Heritage List since 2014.

This fortification appears for the first time in historical sources around 2,300 BC. It survived many civilizations and rulers and was a center for middle eastern Christians until the 9th century when the bishop of Erbil moved his seat to Mosul.

In modern times, significant archeological research and restoration work has been done to preserve and restore this vital site. There are many places to visit inside the citadel, such as the Kurdish Textile and Ethnographic Museum, the Erbil Stones and Gems Museum, and the Turkmen Heritage House.

Furthermore, Erbil’s archaeological museum is home to an extensive collection of pre-Islamic artifacts, particularly the art of Mesopotamian cultures.

Ziggurat of Ur

Ziggurat in Ur

The city of Ur was one of the essential Sumerian city-states in ancient Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium BC. One of the best-preserved remains of Ur is this spectacular, massive step pyramid structure called a ziggurat.

This Neo-Sumerian ziggurat is near the city of Nasiriyah, 360 km south of Iraq’s capital Baghdad. It has been reconstructed in recent years based on what experts believe it once looked like.

The Ziggurat of Dur-Kurigalzu

Ziggurat of Dur Kurigalzu

The abandoned ruins of Dur-Kurigalzu are located about 30 km (90 mi) west of Baghdad.

King Kurigalzu of the Kassite Dynasty founded Dur-Kurigalzu in the 14th century BC.

It was the Kassites’ capital for nearly 400 years. The Ziggurat of Dur-Kurigalzu was also built in the early 14th century as a place of worship for the main Babylonian deity Enlil, who was believed to control the wind, air, earth, and storm.

It is a lesser known site, but a fascinating one, and definitely worth visiting.

Babylon

Babylon

The most significant treasure of Iraq, Babylon, is truly a sight to behold. With a history dating back some 4,000 years, it was the most important city in Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, and a place where concepts like governments, religions, and literature were first developed. It is a site of massive cultural value.

Located 85km south of Baghdad, Babylon was reconstructed during the 1970s and 80s to give visitors an idea of what it looked like in its prime.

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Travel to Iraq for a Unique and Memorable Experience

If you visit this enchanting country, you’ll get more space and calm compared to the hustle and bustle of popular tourist centers. It is an unconventional traveling destination for wandering, adventurous spirits.

Those seeking out a one-of-a-kind vacation experience should absolutely consider what Iraq has to offer. From secluded oasis surrounded by sand dunes and ancient ruins to bustling cities alive with culture and cuisine, you’ll be amazed at what Iraq’s different regions have in store. There’s something special waiting around every corner – no matter where you go.

Ready to see it all? Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey!

Now that you have the Iraq travel guide and now know all the top destinations in Iraq, you can satisfy your curiosity and discover new places. We hope you have a safe and lovely time!

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