Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

Iraq - family - s.v. photo

“In March 2017 I visited Iraq, where I travelled through Baghdad, Babylon, Najaf, and Karbala. It really wasn’t an example of disaster tourism, though I do strongly advise travelling with a local. There are a lot of checkpoints, though we never had any problems. When we arrived, nobody asked us for medical papers on our HIV status, and though we stayed for longer than ten days, we didn’t have to report to a separate office.

At Baghdad airport they gave us a special paper, which was a sort of permit. At Babylon we joined a French tour group, though tourists are by no means an everyday sight. Most of the visitors we saw were in groups organized by Iraqi schools and universities.

The restaurants are very good, and serve delicious food in large portions. We were there to visit family members, and if I didn’t have relatives in the country, I’m not sure whether or not I would have been able to get a tourist visa. In a word, while Iraq still isn’t really a tourist destination, it’s also not as dangerous as many people think and write. The capital and the surrounding region were completely fine, and the locals are very friendly and helpful.”

Practicals

Transport

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Iraq - transporting coffin to a funeral - s.v. photo

Accomodation

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Iraq - hotel reception ladies - s.v. photo

Shopping

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Iraq - supply and demand - v.j. photo

Iraq - fashion vest - v.j.

Iraq - textile shop - s.v. photo

Iraq - Baghdad - street market - s.v. photo

Fun

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Baghdad - teahouse - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Public safety

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Iraq - soldiers - s.v. photo

Others


Background

Iraq - national flag, featuring the Arabic expression “God is great” written in Kufic script

Destination in brief

Iraq in brief

Iraq is a country in the Middle East. Its neighbors are Turkey (north), Syria, Jordan (west), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait (south), Iran (east). Iraq has a very small coastline along the Persian Gulf.

Size437 072 km² (168 754 mi²)

Population: 39,8 million (2020) – Arabs are the dominant ethnic group (more than three-quarters of the population) and about 25% are Kurds (who are not Arabs!) 

Official languages: Arabic and Kurdish

Religion: 97% of the population is Muslim (the Kurds are also Muslims, more precisely Sunni Muslims)

Capital City: Baghdad

Official currency: Iraqi dinar (IQD) 

In Iraq, more than half of the grooms and brides marry their first or second cousins. 

Most frequent surname: Mohamed

Iraq will definitely not be a tourist destination again for a long time. It’s a shame, as this country used to have many great cultural and historical attractions. The ruins of legendary ancient Babylon, for instance, are in dismal condition. There is no war in most parts of the country, but the situation is tense and the tourist infrastructure has practically vanished. (2019)


History

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Iraq - Basrah - Ruins of Uruk - The first written words started here - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Iraq - Babylon - Lion of Babylon - 2600 years old - s.v. photo

Iraq - Baghdad - Martyr's Memorial - dedicated (in 1983) to the Iraqi soldiers who died in the Iran–Iraq War - s.v. photo

People

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Iraq -Kurd guy - v.j. photo

Iraq - men - s.v. photo

Iraq - boys - s.v. photo

Iraq - Shiite women - s.v. photo

Iraq - Kurds - s.v. photo

Attractions

Baghdad

Baghdad - The Victory Arch (or the Swords of Qādisīyahentrance) - o.v. photo

Baghdad - Shahid Mosque - s.v. photo

Baghdad - Iraq Museum (national museum) - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Baghdad - national museum - relic from the Assyrian Empire - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Samarra

Iraq - Samarra - Great Mosque - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Najaf

Iraq - Najaf - Imam Ali Holy Shrine - s.v. photo

Ur

Iraq - Tell el-Muqayyar - Ur, an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia - s.v. photo

Iraq - Babil (Babylon Province) - Hillah - The alleged birthplace of the Prophet Abraham - In the basement of a small mosque, you can see a piece of stone on which Abraham was born. - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Babylon Province

Karbala

Iraq - city of Karbala - Holy Shrine of Husayn Ibn Ali - s.v. photo

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