If you are in the Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital of Erbil or planning to visit, there are top ten places that anyone should visit to figure the city – here they are:
– Citadel and Minaret
The Erbil citadel, Qalat in Kurdish, is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited townships. The citadel is surrounded by an old bazaar and fountains, and is considered the center of the city. And Mudhafaria Minaret, more commonly known as Choli minaret, is the second oldest building in Erbil,only a fifteen-minute walk from the citadel.
– Mam Khalil and Machko teashops
Mam Khalil is the oldest teashop, Chai Khana in Kurdish. The shop is inside the historical Qaisari Bazar next to the citadel. The atmosphere of the shop gives you a real taste of the city.
Macho teashop is virtually built into the walls of the Citadel. This teashop is the second oldest teashop in Erbil; it has become an irreplaceable part of Erbil. Historically the shop has been a haunt for writers, intellectuals and arty types.
– Jalil Khayat mosque
The mosque has been built in ten years, resembling the famous blue mosque of Istanbul. It is one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. The internal walls and ceiling are decorated with colorful mosaics, Holy Quran verses, and huge ceiling lamps. The mosque can be seen from any corner of Erbil.
The Christian neighborhood of the city. Many historical churches can be seen in the town. Ankawa has become a dynamic neighborhood thanks to its vibrant nightlife. Many of the cafes and restaurants along with office of foreign consulates and companies are located in the area.
– Halgurd Sakran National Park
Planned to open officially mid year, Sakran National Park is considered one of the largest environmental initiatives in Iraq. The national park covers wide areas in the Iraqi border with Iran. Authorities aim to make it one of the ten biggest national parks in the world.
– The Erbil Bilonical Park
Just ten minutes drive from the city, the Erbil Bilonical Park is located in the hills on the northern outskirts of the city along the road to Koya. Aside from its natural beauty, Erbil can be clearly seen from the hills especially at the night.
– Abu Shahab restaurant
Not even a few people in Erbil do not know about this restaurant. Abu Shahab restaurant has become part of the identity of the city. If you are a tourist or living in the city but haven’t yet eaten at this restaurant, then you have missed an important part of the city.
– Korek Mountains
Lately, the mountainous region has become an entertainment resort.. The Korek Mountains behold one of the biggest Teleferik in the Middle East with an eye-catching natural view. Additionally, there are five star restaurants in the entertainment complex. The area is covered with snow until late summer.
– Old Erbil
The areas surrounding the Erbil citadel are hundreds of years old. Most of the houses were built decades ago and yet none of them have been renovated. The areas of Tajil and the Arab quarter are two places that according to the new master plan of Erbil will become non-residential historical places. While Erbil is rapidly becoming a modern city, the old areas of Erbil close to the city center are keeping the historical identity of the city.
– Iskan Street
If you want to experience Erbil’s ordinary nightlife, then Iskan Street is the place; it is Erbil’s most vibrant street at night. Most of the shops are open until midnight.
Photo credit: Safin Hamid