Favorite thing: There is so much history in Iraq. It's really quite amazing. Now it may not have the same cathedrals you would find in Europe or impressive temples of South East Asia. There are many smaller sites all around the place and with most of them, you just go to them. No lines for tickets or pushy guides, just raw history. Many sites are just on the side of the road, some you have to go off road a bit and some are where in the world are we. The one problem is that there usually isn't much to let you know detailed history of the place. History from Neanderthals, to the Assyrians, to Saladin's conquesting Muslim armies to Sadam and so much in between. The first photo is the remains of one of Saladin's fortresses located north of the town of Saladin. The second photo is Qubahan School which is right next to Amedi. The third photo is overlooking where the battle of Gaugamela took place. It was the battle between Alexander the Great and Darius the III that happened in 331 BC.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Visas and Extensions
Favorite thing: Visas are available for many nationalities at border crossings and airports. EU passport holders are given a free 10-day visa on arrival, although this is only valid for the Kurdistan region (i.e. the Kurdish regions of Dohuk, Erbil and Slemani (Suleymaniyeh), as well as Kurdish-held territories in the provinces of Nineveh and At-Tamim), not for the rest of Iraq. Ten days is enough to get over to Slemani and back (if pressed, you can get to Slemani from the Turkish border in one long day), but I wanted a bit more time to explore, which meant extending my visa.
To extend your visa, you need to go along to the Residency Office in Erbil, known as Iqaamet Ainkawa. Taxi drivers will tell you that there are two, so ask for the new one near the airport (al-iqaama al-jadida qariiba min al-mutaar). Go early on your last day, before 9am if possible, as all foreigners in Iraq (and there are a surprising number) need to do this every 30 days, so you won't be the only one. You might well be the only one there without a sponsor however, so it is quite a daunting experience on the whole.
Enter via the reception area to the left of the building, not the main entrance. Here you'll have to push and shove your way in, then surrender your mobile and camera (a brilliant idea, no annoying ringtones inside!), before being searched by guards. Once through reception, don't do what I did and plunge into the dingy corridors of the residency building without any clue as to what I should do...instead, go directly to the photocopy booth in the courtyard outside. Don't bother to queue...thrust your passport at the man behind the desk, who will hand you copies of the relevant pages. Next, skip a booth and thrust your passport at the man behind the third booth. In most countries, you fill in your own forms, but in Kurdistan, a man in a booth does it for you, shouting out the questions for everyone else to hear. Once that is done, he'll tell you which room to go to inside.
A word of warning...don't expect the rooms inside to be numbered in a logical fashion. No, that would be too easy, and the object of the game is to confuse the foreigner so much that he will decide to give up. Entering the first corridor, you have room 2, then room 7, then room 14, then room 4, etc...finding the room is all part of the fun! Once you find the first room, you and your papers will set off on a long journey around the building collecting signatures, stamps, notes, scribbles, more signatures, more stamps...some officials might not want to deal with you at first, and you'll be sent back and forth to the same offices more than once.
Eventually, when your papers can take no more signing and stamping, you'll enter the basement. Hand your passport to the soldier at the door, who will disappear inside, leaving you and hundreds of others to wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Names are called over a robotic intercom, so listen for something that could possibly be your name, then argue with the soldier to be let inside. You'll be made to stand in front of a webcam, answer one or two questions, then be sent to another desk. Then you'll go to the next door room, same process...hand in passport, wait, wait, wait...
You'll then be sent upstairs to pay your extension fee (about 5000 dinars), requiring more stamps and signatures, and with the receipt, you return to the basement for one last wait. With a bit of luck, your passport will be handed back with a 30 day extension, and three hours after first entering, you can go and haggle for your mobile and camera to be returned, negotiate a taxi back into town, order a tamarind sorbet and crash in your hotel room from exhaustion.
Favorite thing: Visiting My family!
My uncle came long ago,from Indonesia (more than 60 years ago) to finish his studies to Iraq,he then setteld there and married an Iraquie lday,actually she`s a Kurd.
he had 7 children from her,they all grew up to be either doctors or engineers.
My uncle passed away in 1988,I saw him for the last time when he came to Makkah/Saudi Arabia to preform a spiritual visit called Hajj.
I had visited Iraq twice,once when I was 7 or 8 and again in 1989,but my mom always likes to say I visited it three times,as in 1971 she visited it with my father,when she came back she knew that she was pregnant(with me).
Fondest memory: It was the time where I got to meet my cousins and get to know each other`s cultures!
I remember their Arabic accent was so hard for me to understand we used to communicate with English language some times!Related to:
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: At the tank factory that was operated by Saddam's military you can find parts and boxes everywhere that are labeled in French or as being made in France.
So much for that "Oil for food" program! Thank you France for stabbing everyone else in the back while Saddam tortured, gassed, and starved his own people.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Adventure Travel
- Work Abroad
And is it a real or a fake...
Favorite thing: And is it a real or a fake bill......i like to know, because it was send so my dad could send the man, who send him this, stamps from the Netherlands. So if you tell me if its real, the man in Iraq can get his stamps....THANKS!!!!
I went with a french...
Favorite thing: I went with a french group,starting from paris,then amman by plane.We travelled by bus from amman to baghdad(16 hours+the border);we stayed 12 days in iraq,visiting many archeological and cultural sites.Iraq has a very rich history,made of very different cultures(mesopotamia,assyria,christian,sunnite moslem,shiite moslem...)
Fondest memory: I had a good relationship with our 2 iraqi guides(one moslem,the other one christian),I spent one evening in their hotel room drinking arak(iraqi alcohol)and talking about iraqi girls(pfffff,have you ever seen more beautiful girls ????)
Go out shopping, you will love...
Favorite thing: Go out shopping, you will love shopping there. They have everything from jewelry to food.
You must try their pastries, they are the greatest. I was born and raised there, everything I saw was beautiful, especially up in the north where the Kurds live. But remember you have to be careful up north because of tribal conflicts. The one thing that strikes me is the mountain, you can go and have a beautiful picnic, dancing, hiking, or just go for the sight. Baghdad is one of the most splendid places you will ever see, its history and just the people there will amaze you.
Fondest memory: Everything from food to visiting relatives. My best memory are the parks and the restaurants.
I would take him to Holly...
Favorite thing: I would take him to Holly sherines in Kazmain with golden
Minars , close to Baghdad, Then to Najaf , to visit Imam Ali shrain then to Kerbala , to visit sherin of Imam Husain And Gazi Abbas , Then to Samarra city to visit Imam Hasan Askary And Imam Ali naqi, Then Babelon to see place of hanging garden , then Musal in North and Basrah In saoth
Iraq has ancent historical places, Baghdad Is a nice cith
pilegrims used to visit holly places from hole world , also
tourist used to come Iraq in past but stoped because of gulf war but now every thing is OK. there every facilety available , also I can arrange iraq visa for any one want to visit
Fondest memory: North of Iraq is like Pradice Kurdistan
I like My birth place Kerbala
The best Memory is to have fresh fish, In Iraqi style fish on the bank of tigres rever in Baghdad with friends
visit Samarra with the...
Favorite thing: visit Samarra with the worldfamous spiral minaret.
The city is interesting because of the spiral minaret, the Askari Shrines, the Qubbat as-Sulaimaniyya and some more or less preserved palaces. Most interesting for a visitor is the spiral minaret of the old mosque which dates back to the middle of the 9th century.
don't miss the travelogues!
809 the great Harun ar-Raschid died in Baghdad which was the aboslute centre of power in the whole Middle East ab this time. Two of his sons - al Amin (whom Harun had nominated to be his successor) and al Ma'mun - were fighting for the throne. In 813 al Ma'mun conquered Baghdad, where enormous damage was done to the round city, and put al-Amin to death.
For his campains against the Byzantine Empire in Konstantinople he imported thousands of Turks from Central Asia year by year.
Two decades later right these Turkish troops caused lot's of disorders in Baghdad which at least forced the Caliph to move his residence. In 836 he found a new capital higher up the Tigris on the site of Samarra.
Fondest memory: Climbing up the spiral minaret is a tough thing! There is no handrail, no railing, nothing like that. And the platform on top of it is very small - believe me!
take some days for Mossul. In...
Favorite thing: take some days for Mossul. In the are you will find several excavations of old Mesopotamian cultur: Ninive, Khorsabad, Ashur, Nimrud.
But Mossul itself is worth a visit as well. The people who live there are quite different from the Baghdadis. Mossul is located in the north of Iraq where a large quantity of Kurds lives, even other ethnic groups live in the mountains but only in very few numbers.
The people of Mossul are a mixture of the Arabs and others from the south + Kurds and others from the north.
Fondest memory: pic shows: view over the Tigris with Mossul on the western banks
Visit the city of Basra. The...
Favorite thing: Visit the city of Basra. The beautiful old capital of the south is located at the Shatt el Arab. After two wars it has suffered a very lot but you can still find the charming Basra that is so much known from the stories of Sindbad.
visit Kerbela: 2 islamic...
Favorite thing: visit Kerbela: 2 islamic monuments are the main attractions in Kerbela: the shrine of Abu-l-Abbas and the one of Hussein. Both men were some of the most honoured martyrs in islam, especially in the shiitic islam. A shrine is a large mosque, ver much decorated with the sarcophagus of the mentioned person inside. In Iraq it is normally not allowed to enter the inner part of a shrine. pic shows: Abu-l-Abbas Shrine
Baghdad: the famous city of...
Favorite thing: Baghdad: the famous city of the stories of alf laila wa laila - 1001 nights. It is somehow disappointing if you expect the city to have the old charme mentioned in the 'alf laila'. Baghdad is a modern city with all the advantages and disadvantages of that.
As a modern city Baghdad takes a lot of it's charme from the river Tigris. I was quite impressed how 'normal' life was in Baghdad in 1998. Nothing to see of the bombings from the war.
... more later
do a trip to Babylon:...
Favorite thing: do a trip to Babylon: Unfortunately the buildings of this worldfamous city have been destroyed not only once. What you can see today are mostly rebuilt palaces, walls, ceremonial avenues, ...
While the famous statue of the Lion of Babylon remained there many other pieces have been taken away to museums in Iraq and abroad.
Ishtar gate is may be the most well known piece having been removed from it's original place. There is a copy in Babylon today that shows a little how the gate looked and how it wellcomed travellers and visitors. I can just hope that once the original gate will find it's way back from Berlin to Babylon.
Favorite thing: Lot of really sweet dogs in Iraq and they are treated worse then vermin. It's quite sad, but with all of the other problems here.....
Al Tahariyat Square, Baghdad, 0101, IQ
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48 Hashemi Street, Downtown, Amman 11844, Jordan (Formerly Jordan Tower Amman)
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100 Meter Road, After Akar Petrol Station
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