Arbil Local Customs

  • More of the murals
    More of the murals
    by mikey_e
  • Murals and sculpture
    Murals and sculpture
    by mikey_e
  • Relief sculptures
    Relief sculptures
    by mikey_e

Most Recent Local Customs in Arbil

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    Tea Time

    by mikey_e Written Nov 21, 2012

    Kurds, like Arabs, are big tea drinkers, rather than consumers of coffee. In the centre of the city, it is a common practice to spend spare time with friends at one of the many cafés with outdoor seating areas. Here, men will gather to talk and gossip, play games and occasionally smoke hookah. It is also common for people to go from one café to another. Unlike in many Arab countries, being a foreigner shouldn't cause much curiosity among other clients, and you should feel free to sit down, enjoy a glass of sweet tea and watch the world go by.

    Enjoying tea in the central square Another view of tea time

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    Kurdish dress

    by mikey_e Written Nov 21, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Kurds do not wear clothing that is similar to the Arab peoples to the south. Their national dress (for men, that is) includes baggy pants and a shirt tucked inside. The ensemble is two-piece, and it is usually kept up by a large belt made from a long piece of cloth. It is very common to see men of all ages in traditional dress, and quite easy to buy an outfit for yourself.

    Mike in traditional dress

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    Revolutionary Folk Art

    by mikey_e Written Nov 21, 2012

    It is not a secret that at least a portion of the Kurdish political and military forces have been influenced by left-wing ideology, including (in the first half of the 20th century) direct support from Soviet troops. The Kurdish political spectrum includes a variety of groups, from Islamists to Marxists, but the influence of left-wing liberation ideology has made a clear mark on this nation’s struggle. It can be seen in some of the artwork in public places, which has a distinctive mark reminiscent of some of the socialist realist work from the Eastern Bloc countries. These include glorifications of peshmerga (Kurdish fighters) in proletariat and peasant settings, brandishing their weapons while also taking part in the workers’ work. They are interesting windows into the narrative of the groups that have shaped this autonomous region, and are worth at least a bit of attention from any engaged visitor.

    Paintings at the College of Fine Arts More of the murals Murals and sculpture Relief sculptures
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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  • Tipping

    by Robin020 Written Feb 6, 2012

    A tip for the waitress or taxidriver?

    In Afrin or Aleppo it is upo to you to give tips to the waitress in a restaurant (if he/she was friendly and helpfull and the food was good of cours). The need the tips to live since the wage is very little.

    In bars and café's some people give a tip, others don't.The servers will appreciate it if you do.

    It is common to give the taxidriver a tip. Only if they were nice and friendly, of course!
    Never give a tip if someone asks for it.

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  • Culture Dos and donts

    by Robin020 Written Feb 6, 2012

    Cultural Do’s and Don’ts Do:

    (U) Do be prepared for people to smoke in different venues.

    (U) Do expect that in many Kurdish households seating is arranged on the floor.

    (U) Do give women the opportunity to avoid physical contact with men. Handshakes between the sexes may be allowed; a two-handed handshake is especially welcoming.

    (U) Do be respectful and express gratitude for Kurdish hospitality and generosity.

    (U) Do bring a small gift to your Kurdish host. An offering of fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, pastries, and even cigarettes (for males only) will be welcomed. Avoid offering a gift that draws attention to your relative wealth.

    (U) Do repeat your offer of a gift two or three times until your host accepts. Kurds may initially refuse to accept gifts.


    (U) Don’t pay undue attention to a person of the opposite sex even if he is a guest.

    (U) Don’t shake a woman’s hand (if you are male) unless she first offers it to you.

    (U) Don’t refer to any Kurds as a dog or a mother of a dog. Dogs are reviled in Kurdish culture.

    - It is considered rude for a host to not offer a guest something to eat and drink. This custom holds to unexpected visitors as well. It is polite to accept your host’s offer.

    (U) Don’t offend your host by refusing to enter a room first. Kurdish culture has a rank system where the oldest or highest-ranking person socially enters a room first; women are usually among the last to enter.

    (U) Don't admire something in a Kurdish household unless you are prepared to accept it. To do so is a guarantee that you will be presented with the item. It is impossible to graciously refuse a gift, especially after admiring the object. Although reciprocation is not required, it is usually polite to try to offer something of equal value in return at a later point.

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  • Haggling down

    by Robin020 Written Feb 6, 2012

    Be aware that haggling down the price of any thing you buy,The seller,vendor mostly raise the price because the vendor knows very well the buyer will try to haggle it down. It is part of the culture,cloth,taking a taxi,souveniurs,even the hotel price...etc from 20% to 40%or more .Do your best ;)

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  • Kurdish National Anthem

    by Robin020 Written Feb 3, 2012

    (Kurdish national anthem)


    Hey enemy, the Kurdish nation is alive with its language
    Can not be defeated by the weapons of any time
    Let no one say Kurds are dead
    Kurds are living
    Kurds are living, their flag will never fall

    We, the youth are the red colour of the revolution
    Watch our blood that we shed on this way
    Let no one say Kurds are dead
    Kurds are living
    Kurds are living, their flag will never fall

    We are the children of Medya and Keyhusrew
    Both our faith and religion are our homeland
    Both our faith and religion are Kurd and Kurdistan
    Let no one say Kurds are dead
    Kurds are living
    Kurds are living, their flag will never fall

    The Kurdish youth have risen like lions
    To adorn the crown of life with blood
    Let no one say Kurds are dead
    Kurds are living
    Kurds are living, their flag will never fall

    The Kurdish youth are ever present and
    Forever will be ready to sacrifice their lives
    Sacrifice each life they have, each life they have!!!...

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  • shopping malls in Arbil city

    by Robin020 Written Feb 3, 2012

    family mall

    It is the biggest one in Arbil located on 100 M Road in Erbil. Part of an already popular theme park, the shopping center will have space for around 350 globally renowned brands.

    Naza Mall

    Majidi mall

    opended in 2009 Majidi Mall offers 135,000 square meters of retail space on three levels. The first and second floors will be dedicated to fashion for men, women, and children.

    A large hypermarket called City Centre will be located on the first floor and will sell 450,000 items in 13,000 square meters.

    The third floor will include 20 fast-food restaurants and cafes, a six-lane bowling alley, and a games section for children and adults alike. The food court will include Chinese, Indian, and Italian cuisines the luxurious shopping complex will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The food court will stay open until 12 p.m.

    Sofy mall and Galeriya mall

    both are located on prestigious Gulan Road, close to the new hotels and housing projects under construction. Sofya Mall, according to its director, Fareed Tawfiq, has space for 90 stores on four floors

    Tablo mall

    Tablo Mall:

    Let’s meet there!

    275 stores to offer the best service to our visitors. We provide 81.000m2 construction area, 5 floors car park and wide range of stores. It is our pleasure to offer viable alternatives to our wide scale of visitors from all ages and backgrounds.The shopping mall features suitable space. With its glass dome in the center, our mall brings the sun in and gives our visitors the perfect environment.
    for more info go to the mall website Tablomall webite

    reihmall located in Eskan area

    Nishtmall :
    downtown Erbil will be the largest shopping mall in the world with more than 8,000 shops

    Erbil Mega mall

    Mane Mall

    offer over 150 international brands including a hypermarket, department store, furniture store, multiplex cinema, bowling lanes, children's play area, fast-food court, and fine-dining experience. It will also benefit from an exclusive rooftop restaurant, which will give spectacular views of Erbil City and the nearby Tarin Hills. Directly linked to Mane Mall is a new 250-room hotel boasting superior conference facilities, a swimming pool, and spa.

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    by 1W1V Written Sep 21, 2006

    Like anywhere else in Iraq, Cash is king.

    Forget about credit card and traveller checks.

    Take some green back with you to pay all your expenses.

    If you need Iraqi Dinar, exchange offices are available in every single town.

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  • eating with the fingers

    by deimos1818 Written Apr 28, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Traditional kurdish food is eaten without forks or spoons. If you also want to try it, just keep in mind: Don't use the left hand!Only eat with the right hand!
    Ofcourse, you can also eat with fork and spoon.

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Arbil Local Customs

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