Located in the western part of Asia and bordered by Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Syria, and Jordan, lies a landlocked gem, Iraq. The country has to its name a glorious past;
however, the recent political turmoil has brought its tourism to a juddering halt. Today, after much unrest, Iraq is gradually finding its way into the tourist map.
Its rich heritage and Islamic architecture, age-old canals, memorials, museums, lofty mountains, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, numerous archaeological sites, and
hospitable people; all call for a memorable travel experience. At present, the Kurdish region in Iraq is considered the safest area for independent travelers to
explore the rustic charm of the country.
Best time to visit Iraq
Iraq has an extreme type of climate, with scorching summers from July to August, and freezing winters during the month of December. The country receives moderate
rainfall from December to April. The best time to visit the country is during the months of March to April and September when the rains are less and the weather
Flights to Iraq
There are no direct international flights on the route between India and Iraq. However, several connecting flights can be opted for, to reach your destination. Choose
from Gulf Air
, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways
, Emirates, Jet Airways, or Air India
, which fly between India and Baghdad International Airport. Shuttles are available
outside the airport terminal to take you to the city center. Other major international airports in the country are in Al Najaf and Erbil.
Accommodation in Iraq
Baghdad and Erbil provide numerous accommodation options, including upscale and luxurious resorts, as well as budget-efficient stays. 5-star hotels here cost INR
10,000 to INR 18,000 (approx.) per night. Mid-range hotels have prices ranging between INR 3,000 to INR 12,000.
Sightseeing in Iraq
Iraq fascinates with its old-world charm and ancient architecture at places like Kadhimain Mosque, Karbala, and Ur. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Samarra is a popular
attraction due to the well-preserved ruins of the Abbasid Empire. Famed for its architecture, the gold dome of Najaf is one of the most stunning sites of the country.
Another place to discover Iraq’s history is Ninevah, with its age-old buildings and River Tigris flowing alongside. Arch of Ctesiphon is one of the most spectacular
archaeological remains in the country. Iraq is separated from Turkey and Iran by Taurus and Zagros mountain ranges respectively. As a matter of fact, the 20%
mountain-covered land of the country is the only region which still has forests; hence, it is a good idea to visit these mountain ranges.
Baghdad, the capital and one of the oldest cities in the country, has much to offer. Its ancient structures, suburbs, Babylon to the south, ruins, and historic
monuments are worth exploring. One of the ancient cities of the Mesopotamian civilization, Babylon offers much from the archaeological point of view. The Broken Hearts
Iran-Iraq war memorial is a must-visit. The Green Zone, with its government ministries, international embassies, and the Republican Palace built by Saddam Hussein, is
a popular tourist attraction. The Canals at Basra and the site of Gaugamela battle in Erbil are among the frequently visited.
Must-buys in Iraq
The best buys to take home from Iraq are the numerous varieties of tea, coffee, spices, and sweetmeats. Hammered copper pots, bowls, and pitchers, are other popular
souvenirs from here. You can also opt for hand-woven baskets, calligraphic paintings, and musical instruments.
Cuisine of Iraq
Largely influenced by its neighbors, Turkey and Iran, the Iraqi cuisine includes a lot of lamb dishes and stuffed veggies. Their dishes comprise interesting
combinations, such as beef with fruits. Adas Bil Hamod (lentils with lemon juice), Yalanchi (tomatoes stuffed with rice), and Ma'mounia (wheat pudding), are some of
the must-try dishes of Iraq.
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