Iraq

Etymology

Country name, 1920, from an Arabic name attested since 6c. for the region known in Greek as Mesopotamia; often said to be from Arabic `araqa, covering notions such as “perspiring, deeply rooted, well-watered,” which may reflect the desert Arabs’ impression of the lush river-land. But the name might be from, or influenced by, Sumerian Uruk (Biblical Erech), anciently a prominent city in what is now southern Iraq (from Sumerian uru “city”). [online etymology dictionary]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Muslimish Baghdad – Creating a safe, supportive, and open-minded environment for the exchange of thoughts and ideas among current and former Muslims, foster a pluralist society that respects the rights of all individuals to live according to their conscience, and strive to abolish blasphemy and apostasy laws across the globe. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Iraqi Dating – Online dating services in Iraq have been a real help for especially the soldiers and the combats to fall in love. It is the only convenient way for them as they cannot find a partner to love due to the nature of their country which appears to be a country of wars and threats. Online dating Iraq has helped so many people as it was really hard for all those who lived away and could not go there to meet the one they wanted to spend life with. [iraqi.dating]

Love Habibi- Iraqi Dating – Welcome to LoveHabibi – the Web’s favorite place for Iraqi dating worldwide. Whether you’re new to this or finding out about LoveHabibi for the first time, signup free today and connect with other people from Iraq looking for free online dating and find your very own LoveHabibi. [love habibi]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Babel Tours – Babel Tours is a new tour operator. The primary aim of the agency is to welcome tourists and travellers visiting Iraqi Kurdistan. The agency is located a few kilometres from the centre of Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, and just a few minutes from the international airport, in the commercial quarter of the town of Ankawa, a prosperous city currently enjoying sustained development. Babel Tours offers high-quality services to all those who wish to come from around the world and discover the cultural and natural riches of Iraq. [babel-tours]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Admire the Kadhimain Mosque – Marvel at the elaborate Kadhimain Mosque in Baghdad – one of the most important religious shrines in Iraq. This spectacular building has four gold-coated minarets and two domes. [world travel guide]

Be amazed by the Islamic architecture of Karbala – Join the pilgrims travelling to Karbala, 100 km south of Baghdad. It’s the spiritual home of Shia Muslims who make pilgrimages to the impressive mosque housing the shrine of Hussein. [world travel guide]

Be in awe of the ancient city of Ur – The ancient Sumerian city of Ur is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Iraq, with its earliest buildings dating back to around 21st century BC. [world travel guide]

Cruise through The Marshes – The Marshes are situated along the Shatt Al-Arab waterway and are best explored by boat to experience the locals who live on man-made islands in beautiful dwellings woven in latticework from reeds. [world travel guide]

Enter the Kurdistan capital of Erbil – Erbil is the capital and seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq. In strolling the city, you will be treading in the footsteps of Alexander the Great who defeated Darius III in the battle of Gaugamela here. [world travel guide]

Explore Iraq’s past at the National Museum – The Iraq National Museum re-opened with great fanfare in 2009 and is already one of the top attractions in Baghdad. The wealth of archaeological artefacts brings the ancient world of the Babylon to life, and is almost unrivalled in the region. [world travel guide]

Explore the pretty canals of Basra – Once called the “Venice of the East”, Basra’s canals are lined with elegant 19th-century houses. Have a stroll on the lush island across from the Shatt Al-Arab Hotel where families picnic Basra remains the main seaport for large commercial ships and tankers as well as traditional dhows. [world travel guide]

Explore the ruins of Babylon – An hour south of Baghdad is the historical site of Babylon and its legendary Hanging Gardens. Dating back to around 2300 BC, Babylon was a political and religious centre over several successive empires, the peak of which was the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II. [world travel guide]

Haggle in the Baghdad Bazaars – After being a no-go area for some years, the famous city bazaars have started to come to life again. Head to the colourful bird market Souk al-Ghazal and observe the famed pigeon fanciers buy birds, exchange tips and relax at local cafés. [world travel guide]

Marvel at the Arch of Ctesiphon – Sitting east of Baghdad along the Tigris River, the Arch of Ctesiphon is built of mud brick and is probably the most spectacular archaeological remnant of a city that was captured variously through the century by the Romans, Byzantine Empire, Parthians and Sassanians. [world travel guide]

Relax in the Kurdish mountains – The foothills and mountains ring every town in Iraqi Kurdistan and in the spring and summer they are cool and beautiful places to escape the heat and dust of the towns. In the new Korek Mountain Resort, it’s even possible to go skiing. [world travel guide]

Sample Baghdad’s glory days at Abbasid Palace – Overlooking the Tigris River, the Abbasid Palace is one of the finest surviving examples of 13th century Baghdad. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city, representing a period when Baghdad was a centre of education as well as trade. [world travel guide]

See Assyrian bas-reliefs in Nineveh – If Mosul becomes accessible once more, it’s essential to visit the bas-reliefs of Nineveh, the third capital of Assyria. Located on the Tigris River in the suburbs of modern Mosul, Nineveh was a centre of worship for the goddess Ishtar, an Assyrian capital and reached its height around 700 BC. [world travel guide]

See the golden dome of Najaf – Najaf, 160km south of Baghdad, is another of the Shia holy cities and famous for the mosque of Al-Haidariya, crowned with a resplendent golden dome made of gold tiles and minarets each made of 40,000 gold tiles. There are few more stunning sights in the Middle East. [world travel guide]

See the pre-Islamic wonders of Mosul – At the time of writing, Mosul is under the control of Islamic State, but if the town becomes accessible again, you can visit the ruined city of Nineveh, while many pre-Islamic artefacts can be found in the Mosul Museum. Wander through the old city and explore mosques, churches and castles. [world travel guide]

Visit The Green Zone – Don’t miss visiting the vast fortified zone in the centre of Baghdad. You’ll find various Iraqi government ministries in this heavily guarded area, as well as Western embassies and several ostentatious palaces, notably the Republican Palace, built by Saddam and his family. [world travel guide]

Wander the early Islamic ruins of Samarra – Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007 due to its well-preserved ruins and history, Samarra represented the power of the vast Abbasid Empire. The 9th century Great Mosque and minaret are some of the most impressive early Islamic ruins in Iraq. [world travel guide]

Festivals

Festivals

Assyrian New Year – The Assyrian New Year takes place every year on April 1 in all countries where Assyrians reside. Marked by festivities, the day is celebrated with long parades in colorful outfits and ancient costumes. Students, dignitaries, men, and women alike join in the parties, dancing in the streets and parks for hours. Just like the rest of the world, Iraqis also celebrated the Georgian calendar New Year on January 1. [iexplore]

Babylon International Festival – Held once a year, the Babylon International Festival encompasses all aspects of arts and music. The event represents different cultures and civilizations, celebrating science and culture through folkloric ensembles, singing, musicals, stage performances, seminars, workshops, and other activities. Its main goal is to preserve ancient traditions by passing them on to the younger generations. The annual event takes place September 22 through October 1. [iexplore]

Historical Holidays – Throughout the year, Iraqis celebrate historical milestones like Army Day (January 6), Baghdad Liberation Day (April 9), Republic Day (July 14), Ceasefire Day or End of Iran-Iraq War (August 8), and Iraqi Independence Day (October 3). [iexplore]

Iraq Short Film Festival – Established in 2005, the Iraq Short Film Festival celebrates movies made by and for Iraqis. A series of short films are shown in the Arabic or Kurdish language throughout Baghdad. The event is held August 1 through September 30. [iexplore]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Taxis and Car Rental – Shared taxis are the safest and most common form of public transportation in Iraq, especially in major cities like Baghdad and Kurdistan. All other forms of public transport are rare as most drivers prefer to stay within the city limits. Some cabs go as far as Kirkuk and Mosul though fares are often expensive. Intra-city taxi rides, on the other hand, are cheap and easy to find. [iexplore]

Trains and Buses – Commuter services are available in Baghdad though they mostly serve areas between the city and the suburbs. A free shuttle bus runs through the Green Zone, but most destinations in the area are within walking distance of each other. Bus services between cities in Kurdistan are available, but trips are irregular. Trains, on the other hand, are currently unavailable though plans are underway to make the rail system operational once again between towns and neighboring Middle Eastern capitals. [iexplore]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Soccer Iraq – Soccer Iraq is an online English page with news and inside access to all things Lions of Mesopotamia. Established in 2015, our objective at Soccer Iraq is to reach out to those living in all corners of the globe with roots and passion for the Usood Al Rafidain. [facebook]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Living and Working in Iraq – Are you preparing for living and working in Iraq? Or are you already an expat and have recently relocated to Baghdad, Mosul or some other international Iraqi city? [internations]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Resources

Resources

Places in Iraq

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