While Iraq has a negative image in the press due to the recent conflict in the country, it once housed the sophisticated civilization of ancient Mesopotamia. The country is located between the fertile values in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and once housed one of the first agricultural societies. The Assyrian, Sumerian and Babylonians called modern day Iraq their home.
Iraq was one of the key countries on the Silk Road, following the route that went down to the Middle East, crossing Bagdad through to Syria and even down to Egypt. Once home to sophisticated and rich cities, traces of the Silk Road can still be found in Iraq.
Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria border the country.
Bagdad is Iraq’s capital city and was once one of the greatest cities of culture in the Islamic world and a main stopping point on the Silk Road. Unfortunately, the city has been torn apart by war and is listed as one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
Mosul is Iraq’s second city and has one of the most diverse religious make up in the country. It is a city that is rich in historical buildings, from churches to mosques, castles, schools, and monasteries. The markets of Mosul capture the feel of the historic Silk Road with a diverse mixture of Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Turcomen, Assyrians, Yazidi, Mandeans, Roma, and Shabaks.
Eat & drink
Masgouf. This open cut freshwater fish has been marinated with olive oil, salt, curcuma and tamarind in its skin before being roasted for hours. This is the national dish of Iraq and often served accompanied with limes, chopped onions, tomatoes, and flatbread.
Tepsi Baytinijan is a baked casserole made from meatballs, eggplant, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and potatoes.
Babylon is synonymous with the Cradle of Civilization, and even though this ancient city has suffered from military negligence and looting, you can still find some impressive ruins in this ancient city.
Hatra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an ancient Parthian City in the Iraqi desert. It was founded in the 3rd century BC and became a part of the Parthian Empire, becoming a center of trade and religion, and one of the main cities on the Silk Road heading south towards Damascus and Egypt. Even today the city is still rich in ruins from its great days in ancient Parthia.
Nineveh is over 3000 years old and was once the capital city of ancient Assyria. The ruins of the city lie just outside of modern day Mosul across the river Tigris.
Ur is one of the wonders of the Sumerian World, famed for its Giant Ziggurat of Ur.