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IRAQ (Iraqi Kurdistan)


Location - Middle East; Capital - Iraqi Kurdistan - Erbil (Hewler); Iraq - Baghdad; Population - Iraqi Kurdistan - 5.2million; Iraq 50million; Currency - Dinar MORE IRAQ

From Sulaymaniyah it's about an hour and a quarter in a shared taxi to Dukan, a stopping off point on the way to Erbil - November 2013.

 

iraqnote2Iraqi Kurdistan uses the same currency as the rest of Iraq, the Dinar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq235Dukan centre is little more than one long main street

 

iraq252The main reason to visit Dukan is to see Dukan Lake, a few kms out of town

 

iraq255It's the largest man-made lake in Iraq - Dukan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq259And the Ashur Hotel provides as good a view as any from its swimming pool - Dukan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq257Don't think this boat is going anywhere fast - Dukan

 

iraq247Ashur Hotel's fancy restaurant - Dukan

 

iraq240In the centre of Dukan is the river feeding the lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq261Mountainous scenery on the way from Dukan to Koya

 

iraq262Hanging around Koya garage waiting for a shared taxi to Erbil to fill up

 

iraq314The focal point of Erbil is the fantastic central square beneath the citadel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq275 A mosque and clocktower stand either side of the square's arcade - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq281Locals and Arab Iraqi tourists come to enjoy the fountains, teahouses and nearby bazaar - Erbil

 

iraq283It's a buzzing area and if you're visiting it's worth getting a hotel in this area. That is unless you're pining for the bars of Ainkawa, a Christian suburb in the north - Erbil

 

iraq276Peshmerga walk through the square with the citadel as a backdrop - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq278Most people gathering around the fountains seem to be taking photos, me included - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq284A souvenir shop below the citadel - Erbil

 

iraq279The Kurdish name for Erbil (or Arbil, Irbil) is Hewler, also spelt Hawler, but most refer to the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan as Erbil. Sulaymaniyah (Suleimaniyah, Suleymaniyah) is usually called Sleimani or Suleimani and Dohuk is Duhok. Enough?!

 

iraq309The fountains are lit up at night and there's a lively atmosphere in the square - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq269Erbil Citadel, or Qalat Hawler, rises over 30m above the shops below - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq285But the best teahouse I went to was Machko Chai Khana, on the edge of the square beneath the citadel. Again, the friendly locals chatted away and bought me drinks. There's also a couple of makeshift food stalls nearby - Erbil

 

iraq312Chatting with locals at a teahouse in the square. These were Iraqi guys visiting from Babylon (south of Baghdad). They were very friendly, buying my drinks and asking why I don't visit Baghdad ('Because of the bombs?' they asked. Erm..yes). The guy on the left was receiving treatment for leukaemia in Erbil. Hopefully all went well - Erbil

 

 

iraq288The entrance gate to the 8,000 year old citadel, regarded as the oldest continuously inhabited town in the world - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq291 The citadel's 18th century Grand Mosque - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq294The interpretation of 'continuously inhabited' has been stretched today. The citadel is in the middle of major reconstruction and the population has been moved out, save for one family so as not to break the chain - Erbil

 

iraq298The citadel gives a chance to take in more of the city - Erbil

 

iraq318Qaysari Bazaar surrounds the citadel and central square - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq322A covered section of the bazaar - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq321This old guy carved the wooden flutes in the basket. He could hardly see, and almost fell off his stool when demonstrating them, but he knows his stuff - Erbil

 

iraq325One more of the citadel from a park opposite the bazaar neaar Bata Street - Erbil

 

iraq323Now let me see, a trip to Baghdad, Kirkuk or Mosul? I'll plump for Ainkawa - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq367St Joseph's Church is in the largely Christian area of Ainkawa, a suburb in the north of Erbil - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq370Also in Ainkawa are a few bars and plenty of licquor stores. Deutscher Hof is a German bar restaurant complete with beer garden - Erbil

 

iraq331The impressive Jalil Khayat Mosque is on the 30 Metre Street ring road - Erbil

 

iraq335I took a half-day trip from Erbil to the castles of Khanzad and Deween. This is Khanzad Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq339Khanzad Castle is only 15km outside Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq341My driver Haval pointed out this property on the hills above Khanzad Castle. It's a residence of Iraqi President Talabani (or was it Kurdistani leader Barzani?)

 

iraq345There's gorgeous mountain views from Deween Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq346It's a winding 1hr drive along narrow roads from Erbil to Deween Castle, also called Salahaddin Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq351It is said that Deween Castle was founded by the grandfather of 12th century Kurdish conqueror Salahaddin (aka Saladin)

 

iraq350Little of the castle remains but the sweeping mountain views are worth it alone - Deween Castle

 

iraq353I returned to Erbil and headed for Martyr Sami Abdul-Rahman Park, site of a former military base under Saddam Hussein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq359A very peaceful scene at one of the park lakes - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq358.. in contrast to the lake opposite, where women get a speedboat adrenaline buzz - Erbil

 

iraq362Very artistic sculptures in Martyr Sami Abdul-Rahman Park - Erbil

 

iraq363'Freedom is not Free'. A memorial in Martyr Sami Abdul-Rahman Park honours victims of the 2004 bombings in Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq364Memorial to the 98 people who died - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq366The Kurdish Parliament Building was attacked in September 2013, the first bombings to occur in Iraqi Kurdistan for six years - Erbil

 

iraq375Water terraces at Minare Park - Erbil

 

iraq379Statues of notable people in Kurdish history line a pathway in Minare Park - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq389Minare Park is named after the 36m high Sheik Chooli Minaret, all that remains of an 11th/12th century mosque - Erbil

 

iraq388I noticed one thing missing from the entrance to Erbil Citadel, which was the magnificent statue of 12th century historian Sharafaddin. But I came across it in Minare Park, transferred for safekeeping while citadel restoration works continue - Erbil

 

iraq383Is it the original? It looks a little new to me but looks great all the same - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq397Cable cars link Minare Park to Shanadar Park on the opposite side of Halabja Street - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq399The entrance to Shanadar Park - Erbil

 

iraq400Shanadar Park's waterways were a little dry but it's a scenic, green park with plenty of vegetation - Erbil

 

iraq401It also has shaded areas to enjoy a drink in a relaxed setting - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq406Al Sawaf Mosque stands behind Shanadar Park - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq410Shanadar Gallery displays photography, paintings and sculptures and has a few souvenir stalls - Erbil

 

iraq411I like it - a covered walkway made of hats - Erbil

 

iraq416Family Mall, on 100 Metre Street, is one of the the largest malls in Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq420It's all very plush with many of the upmarket international shops on site. And expensive coffees at $8 a pop! Cheaper ones available of course - Erbil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq421iraq423It's even got it's own kids train and a 9D cinema. What?! Erbil

 

iraq425A captured Iraqi tank on display in the village of Kore, the start of a drive from Erbil to Dohuk via the Hamilton Road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iraq427We passed the resort town of Shaqlawa, at the base of Safeen Mountain

 

Website and content Copyright © 2008-2014 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.

 

LINKS

www.erbilia.com - online Erbil magazine

www.gokurdistan.com - travel info

www.krg.org - Kurdistan Regional Government

www.tourismkurdistan.com - Kurdistan tourist site

www.traveliraqikurdistan.com - more travel info

 

I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

 

 
 
 
   
 
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