Iraq, Republic of Iraq, or Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah, or Al Iraq, is a country rich in culture and history among others. It is situated in the west of Asia, bordering Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria, to the country’s north, south, east, and west, respectively. Baghdad, the country’s capital, with an estimated seven million in population, is considered as the second largest city in the Arab world, following Cairo, in Egypt, while also being the second largest city within the west of Asia, following Tehran in Iran. The country is diverse with Arabs as its largest ethnic group, together with Assyrians, Turcoman, Shabaki, Armenians, and Kurds as its largest minority, to name a few. Iraq’s climate is mainly hot to normal with average summer temperatures at 40 °C or 104 °F, and winter temperatures at 21 °C or 69.8 °F.
Where to go
Among Iraq’s divisions include Dohuk, Nineveh, Erbil, Kirkuk, Sulaymaniyah, Saladin, Al Anbar, Baghdad, Diyala, Karbala, Babil, Wasit, Najaf, Al-Qādisiyyah, Maysan, Muthanna, Dhi Qar, Basra, and Halabja.
Baghdad Governorate or Baghdad Province is the country’s capital governorate, and includes the City of Baghdad. Baghdad is located among the Tigris River, one of the two major rivers in Iraq. Its main attractions include the Baghdad Zoo, and the Al-Kadhimiya Mosque. The Baghdad Zoo was once considered as the largest zoo in the Middle East, housing approximately of 650 animals in total. The Al-Kadhimiya mosque or the Kadhimiya mosque, on the other hand, is a shrine that contains tombs of the seventh Twelver Shīa Imām Musa al-Kadhim and the ninth Twelver Shīa Imām Muhammad at-Taqī al-Jawād.
When in Iraq it is best to keep an eye on the news to learn of the country’s current state, for it has encountered quite a bit of insurgencies.
Iraq’s main airport is Baghdad International Airport. Given the political instability of the country, you can proceed departing from the airport but be sure to exercise caution. You can however opt to depart from the Erbil International Airport in Iraqi Kurdistan, which is relatively safer than the main airport. From Erbil International Airport, you can reach Tunis in Tunisia, Ankara in Turkey, or Amsterdam in the Netherlands. As the capital of Tunisia, Tunis is remarkably spared from the onslaught of package tourism, yet many still fall in love with its simple wonders. While in Tunis, you can go see the Zitouna Mosque, the largest mosque in Tunisia that dates back to the eighth century. You can also take a walking tour of the ancient buildings, mosques, and gates of the medina, or simply wander around the city’s largest park, the Belvedere Park, which houses the Museum of Modern Art and the Municipal Zoo that overlooks Lake Tunis.
Erbil International Airport only serves short haul destinations, the farthest of which would be Amsterdam. Amsterdam in Netherlands would be a good choice as your next destination getaway. The capital city of Netherlands boasts of 17th century buildings that are truly magnificent. A great way to explore Amsterdam without spending a single buck would be to stroll along its lovely canals, see the Begijnhof, or simply inhale the freshness of Bloemenmarket’s flowers. You can also opt to cruise the canals by renting a gondola.
How to get out
The main and largest airport in Iraq is the Baghdad International Airport, located approximately 16km, west of downtown Baghdad. The airport serves as the home base for the country’s flag carrier, Iraqi Airways. Other airlines operating in Baghdad International Airport include Air Arabia, EgyptAir, Emirates, Etihad Airways, flydubai, Middle East Airlines, Royal Jordanian, and Zagros Airlines, among others.
A safer alternative, Erbil International Airport in Erbil city in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq serves departure flights operated by airlines such as Air Arabia, Atlasjet, EgyptAir, Emirates, Germania, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Tunisair, and Turkish Airlines, among others.
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