Iraq is unsafe for visitors. The rate of honor killings is still quite high. The militant group ISIS is taking hold of the country. Be aware if you are traveling here and stay away from Tikrit, Mosul, Al-Anbar. The northeast part of the country is relatively safe. Six countries surround it. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey, Syria, Iran.

From the past fifty years, the country has been in a constant war. It has taken a toll on its tourism industry as well as on it landscape. The hundreds of years of Ottoman history are buried under the violence occurring here.

Like Iran, it also suffers from an arid climate. The summers are dry and scorching hot. The winter temperatures can drop below the freezing during the night. Rain is not a friend of Iraq. It receives a rainfall of less than 250 mm per year in most areas.

Geographically, it is divided into five important regions. The southern part of the country has ancient Mesopotamian ruins as well as holy cities, whereas the northern part of the nation has its capital, Baghdad. This region is known as Al Jazira. The central part of the country is called the Baghdad belts. The northeastern part has Iraqi Kurdistan. You can travel here safely.

The vast array of deserts is in the southwest part of the nation. Important cities are Baghdad, Mosul, Basra, Najaf, Kirkuk, Karbala, Fallujah, Dahuk. It is also home to UNESCO World Heritage sites like Ashur, Babylon, Hatra. Ur also has Sumerian remains. The biblical town of Nineveh still has many archaeological sites.

In Kurdistan, shared taxis are the best way to get around. Being the safest part of the country drivers do not want to drive away to the violent territory. Cars can also be hired, but it is not a safe way to travel in a violent country.

Arabic may be the official language, but the educated population speaks English fluently. When you are in important cities, there will be no problem to communicate. In Kurdistan, people speak Kurdish. You may want to learn a few of the most used phrases.

One USD is equal to 1175 Iraqi Dinar. Special duty-free shops in Baghdad accept foreign currency up to a value of US$200. There are around 350 ATMs across Iraq. 

Taxis are available both in cities and for transit. You should negotiate the price beforehand. Also, car hire is available at the airport and in Baghdad. Cars drive on the right side of the road here. However, traveling by road is not advisable at present, due to the carjacking, robbery and random attacks threat. 

In Iraq, they use electric sockets of types C and G. The standard voltage is 230V.

The hotel rooms are booked at USD 20- 30. But the temperature inside rooms can be quite hot. It is better if you sleep under the starry sky with cool night air.

August 10, 2016 12:00 am Published by 1 Comment

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