Top 10 things to do in Iraq

Iraq

Lies at the north end of the Persian Gulf and has a small (58 km) coastline in the southeast of the country.

Iraq is a country.

Iraq is a country with an autonomous region, called Iraqi Kurdistan, in Western Asia. The country borders Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest, and Syria to the west. The capital, Baghdad, is in the center of the country and its largest city. The largest ethnic groups in Iraq are Arabs and Kurds. Other ethnic groups include Assyrians, Turcoman, Shabaki, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya form the minorities. Around 95% of the country's 36 million citizens are Shia or Sunni Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also extant.

Iraq has a narrow section of coastline measuring 58 km (36 mi) on the northern Persian Gulf and its territory encompasses the Mesopotamian Alluvial Plain, the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run south through the center of Iraq and flow into the Shatt al-Arab near the Persian Gulf. These rivers provide Iraq with significant amounts of fertile land.

The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is often referred to as Mesopotamia and thought to be the birthplace of writing and the world's oldest civilizations. The area has been home to continuous successive civilizations since the 6th millennium BC. At different periods in its history, Iraq was the center of the indigenous Akkadian, Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian empires. It was also part of the Median, Achaemenid, Hellenistic, Parthian, Sassanid, Roman, Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid, Mongol, Safavid, Afsharid, and Ottoman empires, and under British control as a League of Nations mandate.

Iraq's modern borders were mostly demarcated in 1920 by the League of Nations when the Ottoman Empire was divided by the Treaty of Sèvres. Iraq was placed under the authority of the United Kingdom as the British Mandate of Mesopotamia. A monarchy was established in 1921 and the Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from Britain in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Republic of Iraq was created. Iraq was controlled by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party from 1968 until 2003. After an invasion by the United States and its allies, Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was removed from power and multi-party parliamentary elections were held. The American presence in Iraq ended in 2011 but the Iraqi insurgency continued and intensified as fighters from the Syrian Civil War spilled into the country.

Overall rating: 4.4
Country
Typical length of visit: 7 days

Top 10 things to do in Iraq

Dahuk

Dahuk
Dohuk is the capital of Dohuk Governorate in Kurdistan and part of Iraqi Kurdistan, with a population of approximately 350,000 inhabitants, consisting mostly of Kurds, with a significant Assyrian population. ...

Irbil

Irbil
Erbil, known as Hewlêr, is the largest city and capital of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. It is located 88 kilometres east of Mosul and has a permanent population of ...

Najaf

Najaf
Najaf is a city in Iraq about 160 km south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2008 is 560,000 people. It is the capital of Najaf Governorate. It is widely considered ...

Shaqlawa

Shaqlawa
Shaqlawa is a Kurdish city in the Arbil Governorate in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Shaqlawa, a city of approximately 25,000 people, lies 51 km to the northeast of Erbil, at ...

Baghdad

Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of the Republic of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Province. The population of Baghdad, as of 2011, is approximately 7,216,040, making it the largest ...

Kirkuk

Kirkuk
Kirkuk is a city in the north of Iraq, 236 kilometres north of, Baghdad, and 83 kilometres south of Erbil. It is the capital of Kirkuk Governorate.Kirkuk lies in a ...

Mosul

Mosul
Mosul is a city of over a million people in northern Iraq, some 400 km north of Baghdad. It is currently the largest city controlled by the Islamic State of ...

Karbala

Karbala
Karbala is a city in Iraq, located about 100 km southwest of Baghdad. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate, and has an estimated population of 572,300 people .The city, best ...

Sulaymaniyah

Sulaymaniyah
Sulaymaniyah or Slemany, is a city in northern iraq. Sulaymaniyah is surrounded by the Azmer Range, Goyija Range and the Qaiwan Range in the northeast, Baranan Mountain in the south ...

Basrah

Basrah
Basra, also written Basrah, is the capital of Basra Governorate, located on the Shatt al-Arab river in southern Iraq between Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of 1.5 ...

Hillah

Hillah
Hillah , also spelled Hilla or Al Hillah is a city in central Iraq on the Hilla branch of the Euphrates River, 100 km south of Baghdad. The population is estimated ...

Al Diwaniyah

Al Diwaniyah
Al Diwaniyah is the capital city of Iraq's Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate. In 2002, its population was estimated at 440,927. The area around Al Diwaniyah, which is well irrigated from the nearby ...

Lake Habbaniyah

Lake Habbaniyah
Lake Habbaniyah is a shallow natural lake in al-Anbar, Iraq, west of Baghdad. It has a surface area 140 km². Traditionally the lake has been used to hold flood water from ...

Zakho

Zakho
Zakho is a city, centre of the eponymous Zakho District of the Dohuk Governorate of Iraqi Kurdistan, located a few kilometers from the Iraqi-Turkish border. The city has a population ...

Fallujah

Fallujah
Fallujah is a city in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar, located roughly 69 kilometers west of Baghdad on the Euphrates. Fallujah dates from Babylonian times and was host to ...

Amarah

Amarah
Amarah , is a city in southeastern Iraq, located on a low ridge next to the Tigris River waterway south of Baghdad about 50 km from the border with Iran. It ...

Koy Sanjaq

Koy Sanjaq
The town Koy Sanjaq is located in the Erbil Governorate of Iraqi Kurdistan, close to the Iranian border. Most of the town was property of two families in the past, ...

Tikrit

Tikrit
Tikrit is a city in Iraq, located 140 km northwest of Baghdad on the Tigris River . The town, with an estimated population in 2002 of about 260,000 is the administrative ...

Aqrah

Aqrah
Aqrah is an historically Assyrian city and district in Iraq which is located in the Dohuk Governorate since 1991. The total area of the district is km2. The district of ...

Nasiriyah

Nasiriyah
Nasiriyah is a city in Iraq. It is on the Euphrates about 225 miles southeast of Baghdad, near the ruins of the ancient city of Ur. It is the capital ...

Halabja

Halabja
Halabja , is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan and the capital of Halabja Governorate, located about 240 km north-east of Baghdad and 14 km from the Iranian border.The city lies at the ...

Ramadi

Ramadi
Ramadi is a city in central Iraq, about 110 kilometers west of Baghdad. It is the capital of Al Anbar Governorate. The city extends along the Euphrates and is the ...

Samarra

Samarra
Sāmarrā is a city in Iraq. It stands on the east bank of the Tigris River in the Salah ad-Din Governorate, 125 kilometers north of Baghdad. In 2003 the city ...

Kufa

Kufa
Kufa is a city in Iraq, about 170 kilometres south of Baghdad, and 10 kilometres northeast of Najaf. It is located on the banks of the Euphrates River. The estimated ...

Kut

Kut
Al-Kūt is a city in eastern Iraq, on the left bank of the Tigris River, about 160 kilometres south east of Baghdad. As of 2003 the estimated population is about ...

Lake Tharthar

Lake Tharthar
Lake Tharthar , and known in Iraq as Buhayrat ath-Tharthar , is an artificial lake opened in 1956, situated 120 kilometers north of Baghdad between the Tigris and the Euphrates ...

Samawah

Samawah
Samawah or As Samawah is a city in Iraq, 280 kilometres southeast of Baghdad.The city of Samawah is the modern capital of the Al Muthanna Governorate. The city is located ...

Baiji

Baiji
The baiji , Lipotes vexillifer, Lipotes meaning "left behind", vexillifer "flag bearer" was a freshwater dolphin found only in the Yangtze River in China. Nicknamed "Goddess of the Yangtze" in ...

Abu Ghraib

Abu Ghraib
Abu Ghraib is a city in the Al Anbar Governorate of Iraq, located just west of Baghdad's city center, or northwest of Baghdad International Airport. It has a population of ...

Baqubah

Baqubah
Baqubah and "Yaqub" and means "Jacob's house" is the capital of Iraq's Diyala Governorate. The city is located some 50 km to the northeast of Baghdad, on the Diyala River. In ...

Umm Qasr

Umm Qasr
Umm Qasr , is a port city in southern Iraq. It stands on the canalised Khawr az-Zubayr, part of the Khawr Abd Allah estuary which leads to the Persian Gulf. ...

Khanaqin

Khanaqin
Khanaqin , , also transliterated as Khanakin is a city in Iraq. It is located at 34.3°N, 45.4°E in the Diyala Governorate, near the Iranian border on a tributary of ...

Lake Milh

Lake Milh
Lake Milh is located a few miles west of Karbala, Iraq . It is alternately called Lake Razazah . Lake Milh is a depression into which excess water from the ...

Haditha

Haditha
Haditha is a city in the western Iraqi Al Anbar Governorate, about 240 km northwest of Baghdad. It is a farming town situated on the Euphrates River at 34°08′23″N 42°22′41″E / ...

Hamrin Mountains

Hamrin Mountains
The Hamrin Mountains (Arabic: جبل حمرين are a small mountain ridge in northeast Iraq. The westernmost ripple of the greater Zagros mountains; the Hamrin mountains extend from the Diyala Province ...

Muqdadiyah

Muqdadiyah
Muqdadiyah is a city in the Diyala Governorate of Iraq. The city is located at 33°58′43″N 44°56′13″E / 33.97861°N 44.93694°E / 33.97861; 44.93694, about 80 km northeast of Baghdad and 30 km ...

Az Zubayr

Az Zubayr
Az Zubayr or Zubair, is a town in Basra Governorate in Iraq, just south of Basra. It also used sometimes to refer to the old Emirate of Zubair.The name is ...

Ranya

Ranya
Ranya is a town located in Iraqi Kurdistan, 130 kilometres northwest of Sulaymaniyah. The population of this city was involved in the revolutionary movement of Kurdish people from the war ...

Kalar, Iraq

Kalar, Iraq
Kalar is a town in Iraqi Kurdistan located on Sirwan river, to the east of Kifri and to the west of Qasri Shirin and Sarpol Zahab in Kermanshah Province in ...

Chamchamal

Chamchamal
Chamchamal is a Kurdish city located to the east of Kirkuk and west of Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan. It is a 30 minutes drive from Kirkuk and a 40 minutes ...

Abu Al-Khaseeb

Abu Al-Khaseeb
Abu Al-Khaseeb, sometimes spelled Abu Al-Khasib, is a town in the Basrah Governorate of Iraq south of Basra. It is a primarily Shia town.Abu Al-Khasib is considered an agricultural town. ...

Al-Hindiya

Al-Hindiya
Al-Hindiya or Hindiya is a city in Iraq on the Euphrates River. Nouri al Maliki went to school there in his younger days. Al-Hindiya is located in the Kerbala Governorate ...

Ash Shatrah

Ash Shatrah
Al-Shatrah is a town in southern Iraq, located northeast of Nasiriyah. It is the administrative capital of the al-Shatrah District, a part of the Dhi Qar Governorate. Al-Shatrah is situated ...

Tuz Khormato

Tuz Khormato
Tuz Khormato or Tuz Khurmatu is a town that is the main centre of the Tooz District in Saladin Province, Iraq, located 55 miles south of Kirkuk. A plurality of ...

Mahmoudiyah, Iraq

Mahmoudiyah, Iraq
Mahmoudiyah is a rural city south of Baghdad. Known as the “Gateway to Baghdad,” the city's proximity to Baghdad made it central to the counterinsurgency campaign.Mahmudiya District has approximately ...

Al-Qurnah

Al-Qurnah
Al-Qurnah is a small town in southern Iraq about 74 km northwest of Basra, within the town of Nahairat. Qurna is located at the confluence point of the Tigris and Euphrates ...

Adam's Tree

Adam's Tree
Allegedly, the site of the original Garden of Eden, and what remains of the Tree of Knowledge