Major Tourist Attractions: Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Ziggurat of Ur, Imam Mosque, Bagdad Zoo
Iraq is known as the cradle of civilization. It was the first known place where records of human writing were discovered and where literature thrived thousands of years before Christ. Humans first began to cultivate land and develop agriculture in Iraq thanks to the fertile Euphrates and Tigris rivers that made it possible to produce vast quantities of food. The city of Babylon rose to prominence in the 6th century BC when the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon were created by the Emperor Nebuchadnezzar II.
Baghdad thrived during the Islamic Golden Age and continued to do so until Genghis Khan arrived in the 13th century. Eventually the Ottomans rose to power until 1920 when Iraq came under British control. Throughout the 20th century Iraq variously shifted between independence and control under the British until 1958 when the British were overthrown and Iraq became a republic.
Modern Iraq has seen moments of reprieve from war but the country is often fraught with political and religious difficulties. The most visited areas in recent years have been into Iraqi Kurdistan, the area freed from Saddam Hussein’s rule during the Gulf War in the early 1990’s. The area is lush and mountainous and the people are known for their generous hospitality. There are many famous sites to explore in Iraqi Kurdistan:
- Dohuk is a good base for exploring. The university town bustles with activity and a good supply of decent hotels.
- Visit Lalish, home of the Yazidi people, a faith based on principles from Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrian.
- Take a trip to Amadiya, a small town built on a high plateau, 1200m above sea level.
- Wander around the citadel in Erbil, some claim it to be the longest continuously inhabited urban area on earth.
- Eat at the bazaar in Erbil. Kebabs and kibbeh are two of Iraq’s most famous street foods.
- Take a drive along The Hamilton Road. The road was built in the early 20th century to connect Erbil all the way to Iran and was considered to be an engineering marvel.
Address: Al-Kindi Street, Baghdad, Iraq
Phone: 0770-443-1286 or 0760-030-4888