Monday, February 15, 2021

Iraq

Iraq Flag



"Cradle of Civilization"



Why visit Iraq?
For the adventurous spiritual traveler seeking to enjoy archaeologically, biblical sites, handicrafts, and ruins.



Lake Dukan, Kurdistan, Iraq. Photo Credit: Wria Mahmood/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Antiques, carpets, ceramics, copperware, rugs, silver, and wool goods.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Jameed (cheese). Kleicha (date cookie). Lahm B'ajeen (meat dish). Mann al-sama (nougat). Masgouf (grilled carp). Samoon (bread). Tepsi Baytinijan (casserole). Quzi (rice dish).
  • Local Drink to Try: Arak (anise distilled). Sharbat (sweet petals). 


Hillah (Hilla), Iraq.  Photo Credit: David Mark/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • In 1932, became independent from Britain.
  • In 1980, invaded Iran.
  • In 2003, invaded by the United States.
  • In 2011, the United States military left.
  • Reconstructed brick buildings often are engraved with Saddam Hussein.
  • Shanidar Cave (Bradost Mountain) contains two cemeteries (Kurdistan Region).
  • Ranks third largest with oil reserves.
  • Najaf (central area) is considered the third holiest sacred city.
  • In seventh grade students are separated by gender and schools.
  • Home to the world's oldest recipes, Cuneiform Tablets (Babylon).
  • Home to the two largest mosque palaces in the Islamic world.


Babyalon, Iraq. Photo Credit: Mariusz Matuszewski/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (September) Al Ghadeer International Festival, Babylon International Festival, and Iraq Short Film Festival.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Army Day, Nowruz, Liberation Day, Labour Day, Republic Day, National Day, Victory Day, Christmas Day, Islamic New Year, Ashura, Prophet's Birthday, End of Ramadan, and Feast of the Sacrifice.


Great Ziggurat of Ur, Dhi Qar Province, Iraq. Photo Credit: Abdulmomn Kadhim/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Home to deeply rooted al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIS) Terrorism Groups.
  • Only way to visit Baghdad and the southern area is on a hosted or escorted tour.
  • Baghdad is prone to poor air quality.
  • Dress conservatively (arms and legs).
  • Women must wear a scarf to cover their hair and neck.
  • Business hours usually vary during the month of Ramadan.
  • Poorly ranked with sanitation and water supply.
  • Required to carry your passport and VISA at all times.
  • Hepatitis and HIV blood tests required within seven days of arrival for stays over 15 days. Failure to do so will result in a fine.
  • Requires an exit stamp from the Residency Office. Cost varies by length of stay. Failure to do so will result in a fine.
  • Avoid border areas.
  • Crime is common.
  • Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.
  • Electricity is unstable and prone too outages.
  • Landline phone service is limited.
  • Largely a cash environment, ATM's are rare.
  • Healthcare and treatment is limited.
  • Prevalent Diseases include: Cholera, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Tuberculosis.
  • Prone to poor driving conditions and disregard to pedestrians.
  • Avoid dark explorations.
  • Traffic checkpoints can take hours to pass.
  • Avoid public transportation.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000USD.

Since January 2021 the Travel Advisory is a Level 4: Do Not Travel due to conflict, kidnapping, and terrorism of Americans.

  • Best Time to Visit: September - January & April - June
  • Coolest Months: December - February
  • Hottest Months: July - October
  • Peak Season: March - May


Sulaymaniyah, Iraq. Photo Credit: Zana Latif/Unsplash 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat), Babylon, Erbil Citadel, Hatra, Samarra Archaeological City, and The Ahwar of Southern Iraq: Refuge of Biodiversity and the Relict Landscape of the Mesopotamian Cities.


Kurdistan, Iraq. Photo Credit: florencedidiot/Pixabay 



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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine

                                       All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

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