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Iraq Travel Guide

Iraq — Attractions

Dubbed by history books as the cradle of civilization, Iraq can take you on an incredible journey to the birth of ancient cultures, age-old empires and the golden age of both Christianity and Islam. From the 7,000-year old Erbil Citadel to beautiful castles, impressive monasteries, mosques, and towers built by monks and Persian kings, the country features dozens of astounding attractions often overshadowed by media turmoil. Ancient imperial capitals and biblical cities await discovery, as do legendary landmarks like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the beautifully-preserved Ziggurat of Ur if you're willing to look past their harrowed reputation.

Al Askari Mosque

Located in the ancient town of Samarra, the Al Askari Mosque, or the Golden Mosque, is the mausoleum of the 10th and 11th Imams, Ali al-Naqu and Hasan al-Askari. It is noted for its gold dome, which was left in ruins by the 2006 al Qaeda bombings, followed by another attack in June 2007 which destroyed the mosque’s minarets. Two other important Islamic shrines can be found in Samarra, Maqam Ghaybat and the 9th century Great Mosque of Samarra, which was at one time the largest mosque in Islam. It is known for its winding minaret, or Al Malwiyya, one of the most iconic landmarks of Samarra.
Address: Samarra, Iraq
Phone: n/a
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Babylon

Located south of Baghdad, the ancient site of Babylon dates back to 2300 BC and was considered the political and religious epicenter of many ancient empires. It is said to be the most fascinating old city in the world, having been the capital of no less than 10 different Mesopotamian dynasties, from King Hammurabi to King Nebuchadnezzar II. It is known for its fortified walls, temples and palaces, but especially for its celebrated Hanging Gardens, which were built by King Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife, Amytas. Other popular sites in the ancient city include Nin Makh’s Temple, the Lion of Babylon and the ruins of ancient ziggurats (huge step pyramids).
Address: Babylon, Iraq
Phone: n/a
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Erbil

The old citadel is the most prominent attraction in the Kurdish capital. However, the city is also home to many other interesting sights, like the Kurdish Textile Museum and the Minaret Park, which is located just a few blocks away. Shanidar Park is also worth visiting, as is the Museum of Civilization, home to the Mound of Qalich Agha.
Address: Erbil, Iraq
Phone: n/a
Website: n/a

Ashur and Hatra

The city of Hatra, best known for its strong fortifications and beautiful temple complex, was the capital of the first Arab kingdom. The ancient city of Ashur is located on the Tigris River and was once the capital of the Assyrian empire. It was founded in the 3rd millennium BC and is dotted with ruins of age-old temples, ziggurats and palaces, particularly the Parthian palace.
Address: Ashur and Hatra, Iraq
Phone: n/a
Website: n/a

Ur

The ancient city of Ur is one of the most important and astounding archaeological sites in Iraq, with the oldest buildings dating back as early as 4000 BC. Among its most notable landmarks is the Great Ziggurat of Ur, one of the largest step pyramids of its kind in the world.
Address: Ur, Iraq
Phone: n/a
Website: n/a

Baghdad

The capital of Iraq, Baghdad, once thrived as a favored part of the hippie trail, being filled with many interesting sites to explore and discover. It is home to beautiful palaces and monuments, including the Victory Arch, the Swords of Qadisiyah and the stunning Monument to the Unknown Soldier, which is one of the most interesting pieces of modern architecture in the city. Baghdad is also home to the Umm al Qura Mosque, which was built in 1991 to celebrate Iraq’s victory in the Gulf War. The Abbasid Palace, situated in the central historical area, is another must-see.
Address: Baghdad, Iraq
Phone: n/a
Website: n/a

Baghdad Zoo

Opened in 1971, Baghdad Zoo is the largest of its kind in the country. It has quickly recovered from destruction during the war in 2003 and remains one of the best places to experience nature and wildlife in Iraq, featuring numerous animal species.
Address: Baghdad, Iraq
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Baghdad Bazaars

The city bazaars are popular go-to places for lazy afternoon strolls and souvenir hunting. The Souk al Ghazal bird market is a great place to wander, people-watch and enjoy the local café scene.
Address: Baghdad, Iraq
Phone: n/a
Website: n/a

Geli Eli Beg Waterfall

Iraq is not all about ancient ruins and colossal monuments. Green patches of paradise can be found in ecological regions of the country, like the mountainous area north of Kurdistan. The Geli Eli Beg Waterfall is one of the most beautiful eco-tourism destinations in the area, along with the famous Shatt al-Arab marshes.
Address: Kurdistan, Iraq
Phone: n/a
Website: n/a

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