A must when visiting Erbil is a wander through Qaysari Bazaar in the downtown area, which has been recently reconstructed using traditional architecture, You will find everything from stalls selling fresh fruit, organic Kurdish cheese or honey, shoes, electronics, clothes and also a chance to buy souvenirs such as kalash (hand-made white Kurdish shoes).
The Choli or Mudhafaria Minaret (Arabic: ÇáãÆÐäÉ ÇáãÙÝÑíÉý) is a minaret located in Erbil Iraq.
The minaret is 36 m high, and was built in 1190–1232 AD (586–630 AH) Brick built it is situated in the corner of Minare Park , remnants of the glazed blue tiles which would have decorated it are clearly visible on the leeward side, Acess would have been via steps that wind up the inside to the first balcony, and then continue up to where the second balcony would have been…., at some stage in its long history the top section has collapsed, Maybe an ancient conflict, maybe an earthquake who knows?
Settled around 6.000 years ago, Erbil Citadel is one of the longest continuously inhabited sites in the world. The citadel, which rises some 30 meters above the surrounding area is a elliptical shaped town comprising of mainly traditional brick built courtyard houses some of the most important buildings include mosques, a hammam ( public baths ) and the two gates, UNESCO are now involved in helping to preserve it, and surely its only a matter of time before it becomes a world heritage site, Also During the Islamic period, Erbil was home to important Muslim poets, historians, and scholars, and later served as a cultural and administrative center in the Ottoman Empire.
The Citadel was obviously not just inhabited by poor families, or used by squatters. At one point, the Citadel must have enclosed the houses and estates of the city's wealthy class, and I am sure that there are many houses with exquisite architectural features that are being restored and will be opened to the public at the end of the revitalization project. I wandered into the courtyard of one, where a very interesting blend of quasi-European styles and Middle Eastern layouts was on display. I would wager that this was a school or institution, rather than any sort of private house, and that the interior, once fully renovated, will offer many insights into the lives of the people of Erbil during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Citadel also houses a mosque, which was, presumably, the main site for religious devotion among the Citadel’s Muslim families. It is the Mulla Afandi Mosque, named after Mulla Afandi, a prominent Kurdish cleric from the city who lived around the turn of the last century. I did not have the opporutity to visit the mosque, but I’m sure that its restoration is part of the wider restoration of the citadel. Nearby the mosque are public baths in the traditional hammam style.
The central square in Erbil is, as in many other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cities, the centre of urban life. Bounded by the citadel to the north and the Qaysari Bazaar to the east, the open spaces and the fountain in the centre of the square allow it to act as a natural gathering place for shoppers and strollers, as well as workers from the surrounding shops, stores, offices and mosques. In the afternoon the place really comes to life with men having tea and smoking waterpipes, children and families playing in the square, and dozens of vendors selling snacks and small goods to passers-by. The fountain in the centre is certainly a focal point, but it is neither ostentatious nor artistically daring, providing more of a bourgeois backdrop than any sort of artistic or creative expression of the energy of the city. This is a wonderful place to spend some time once you’ve trudged around to the city’s various sites, especially if you are much enamoured of people-watching.
Ambulant vendors and open-air stalls are common in the centre of Erbil. This particular marketplace was set up not far from the Qaysari Bazaar, and it included all sorts of interesting vendors, many of whom were likely grey or black market sellers. One particularly enjoyable aspect of the market was the cell phone section, which featured hundreds of the now-ubiquitous 1G and analog handsets that dominate the market in developing nations. The market is noisy and lively place where civilians, police and military mix, and it can be a fun way to delve into everyday Kurdish life.
The Mudhafaria Minaret is located in what is known as Minaret Park, which was, unfortunately, closed when I came by on a cold February morning. The Minaret is noticeable because it is only a half-minaret – the upper part was obviously blasted off during a war or skirmish at some point through the turbulent history of this part of the world. The Mudhafaria Minaret was constructed in the 12th century and it provides an ideal spot for the sort of photographs that allow you to highlight interesting places you’ve visited while also showcasing an interesting architecture structure.
The Qaysari Market or Bazaar is truly a treat for anyone who enjoys shopping in old Middle Eastern bazaars. The covered area of this market place is huge, and it accommodates all types of sellers, including a gold souq, textiles and foods. It is true that many, many of the products sold here are either knock-offs from China or other low-cost goods from Asian producers, but there are still some vendors who do carry traditional goods, including traditional jewelry. As in other souqs, the vendors are generally grouped together in sections, with textile sellers in one area, clothiers in another, the gold souq separated on the south end, and so on. This makes for a rather enjoyable roam around the stalls, and allows the visitor to identify specific traditions and rituals associated with each of these communities. Along the western edge of the bazaar and on the south you can find food sellers, although, as in any other Middle Eastern city, ambulant vendors and small stalls are abundant, particularly if you’re looking for sweets or fast food.
I still have yet to discover exactly who Ibn Mustawfy was, but his large statue dominates the south side of the Erbil Citadel at the gate that leads out to the market and Shar Park. This massive, realist statue is clearly visible from the entire area below, and provides an excellent area for photography – but watch out for the children who beg around it!
The Kurdish textile museum located inside the citadel is far from being an exhaustive study of the history of the city and its civilizations, but it does give a good overview of some of the folkcrafts and expressions of the city’s residents. There is not much by way of explanation inside the museum, but of course the textiles, handicrafts, maps and photographs all speak for themselves.
The Erbil citadel is, by and large, the biggest draw to this city. It was first built in the 5th millennia BCE by unknown peoples using a still poorly understood technology. It towers above the rest of the city, a reminder of the ancient history of a place that could, otherwise, feel like any other Ottoman town in the region. Its imposing walls, only partially destroyed, enclose a maze of streets and smaller structures that are only now being restored, presumably to make the citadel into a more attractive tourist destination. The vast majority of squatters who once lived in the citadel have now been evicted, and reconstruction and restoration teams are busily working to repair damage. The works mean that large parts of the interior of the citadel are out of bounds for tourists, although it is possible for visitors to wander up and down the main drag of the interior, and to visit the small museum and the gift shop.
souk Eskan is just to the left before the Citadel. its a bazzar in the entrance you see men sitting on chairs and they can exchange currency for you . 100$= 120.000 IRD
the souk has several allies , one for womens clothes, mens tailors (and you wouild see fabrics hanging up), accessories, perfumes, wooden doors , cribs, tools , cheeses, nuts ,Henne , one shop that sells hookas, and lots of other stuff.
we took a taxi from the hotel to citycenter and just infront of us was a series of fountains and in the back the Citadel.which is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the world.
it was 9 am and it was very hot. I noticed that the streets and the wter in the fountain was very clean , you cant see any trash thrown on the ground, wish i could say the same to the other places i have been to,( not naming any ;D )we took alook at the shops seeling traditional shoes and carpets with lovely pivtures , mostly if I am not mistaken the image of Immamu Ali.took the stairs up to the Citadel , at the Entrance there is a big statue of Mubarak Ben Ahmaed Sharafidine greeting us ito the Citadel. on the right as we entered we saw an antique shop , took some fotos the poeple agian and again were very friendly. A police man told us politely that there were ares thaat we were not allowed to go in, but escorted us to take some fotos. on our way to the other end of the Citadel we passed by the High Commisssion for Erbil Revitalization and were given a free map and a brouchure.at the other end on saw a view of the city. but the front entrace had a better view one could see the fountains and the souk , i have some fotos for you to see.
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