Travel to northern Iraq should not be undertaken at this time.
Kirkuk has grown in importance since the discovery of petroleum. The famous “eternal fires” are caused by gas escaping from the earth. Mosul is the largest city in the region, here stands the palace of Qara Serai (13th century). The old mosque of Nabi Jirjis that stood in Mosul was destroyed by IS in 2014. Nineveh and Nimrud, ancient capitals of the Assyrian Empire, are archaeological sites near Mosul. However, Nimrud, whose history began in the 13th century BC, was completely destroyed by IS in March 2015. Erbil is one of the oldest still inhabited cities in the world. Erbil Citadel has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014.
- Searchforpublicschools: Offers schooling information of Iraq in each level – compulsory, technical and higher education programs.
South of the capital is Babylon, the ancient capital of the proud Babylonian Empire. The city and especially the famous Hanging Gardens of Semiramis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, are currently being restored. Mosques in Karbala and Najaf are among the most important Islamic shrines . The mosque in Najaf houses the tomb of Ali, the Prophet’s son-in-law and founder of the Shia faith. Further south is Ur, the ancient Sumerian capital and birthplace of Abraham.
Baghdad and environs
After the Gulf War, Baghdad continues to rebuild. The historic river Tigris determines the cityscape. The government is trying to preserve the city’s Islamic character; the ruins of historical buildings, e.g. B. the Ike Abbasid Palace, are listed monuments. Interesting are the museums for Iraqi folk art and for modern art.
Copperware, silver items, spices, colorful carpets and rugs are sold at the traditional markets in Baghdad. In Baghdad, the bustling copper market is the hub of the action. The coppersmiths hammer vessels into artistic shapes to order. Shop opening times: i. A. Sat-Thu 08.30-13.00 and 17.00-19.00.
In Baghdad and other cities there are nightclubs with cabaret, music and dance, as well as cinemas, theaters and bars.
Iraqi specialties include kibbeh (bulghur wheat with minced meat, nuts, raisins, spices, parsley and onions), dolma (grape leaves, cabbage, lettuce, onions, eggplant, pumpkin or cucumber stuffed with rice, meat and spices), tikka ( grilled lamb on a skewer), quozi (whole lamb that is boiled, then grilled and stuffed with rice, minced meat and spices and served on rice) and masgouf (fish from the Tigris). Beverages: As part of strict Islamic law, alcohol consumption is restricted and alcohol is only available in international hotels. Smoking and drinking in public is prohibited during the month of Ramadan. Alcohol consumption may require a permit.
Are primarily geared towards business travellers. The number of modern hotel rooms is limited, advance booking is strongly recommended. The prices of the exclusive hotels are set by the government. There are also smaller and cheaper hotels, but the standard is noticeably lower. Hotel bills must be paid in foreign currency, 10% service charge will be charged.
97% Muslim (60% Shia and 45% Sunni); Druze, Yazidi, Mandaean and Christian minorities.
Social Rules of Conduct
Social etiquette: Iraq is a culturally rich country with a long and turbulent history. Today the traditional Islamic culture prevails and the religious laws of the Koran determine the daily routine. As a visitor, it is advisable to respect religious customs; this includes wearing modest clothing. Hosts should always be addressed by their title and full name. Hospitality in traditional Arabic style is also an Islamic law. Photographing: Government installations and all buildings and events that are not accessible to visitors may i. Generally not to be photographed. Locals are often reluctant to be photographed, as Islam forbids the depiction of humans and animals in any form. If in doubt, no photo should be taken. Tipping: 10-15% in the restaurant. Taxi drivers do not expect tips.
Best travel time
Desert and steppe climate, very hot and dry in summer, cool in winter with little rainfall. Wet near the Gulf and dry inland. Frequent desert winds and storms all year round. The weather is most pleasant between late autumn and mid-spring.
Area (sq km)
40,222,493 (Source: homosociety)
Population density (per square km)
Population statistics year
Main emergency number