Hear about travel to Kurdistan in northern Iraq as the Amateur Traveler talks to Mansoureh Farahani from travelwithmansoureh.com about her travels in this off-the-beaten-path destination.
Mansoureh says, “If people are interested in culture, definitely they should travel to Kurdistan. If they love good food, not good for vegetarians or vegans, but if you are a meat eater, you definitely need to go to the middle east and Kurdistan. And they have so many delicious foods. And if you want to meet new people and you want to make friends, Kurdish people are the best. You feel like you are so welcome there. And also history. The region has a long history and rich history, and they have different religions, and also they have a lot of history about Christianity, Islam, and also Yazidism, a different religion.”
We start in Erbil which is the biggest city and the capital of Kurdistan. In Erbil, Mansoureh suggests visiting the bazaar and also the citadel. the citadel of Erbil is a World Heritage Site. People have occupied the citadel mound since at least the 5th century B.C. When it is time to leave, grab a shared taxi to Dohuk, which is in the mountains in the north.
The origins of Dohuk go back to the stone age. Like so much of the region, it was ruled by many different empires, including the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Mongols, and Ottomans. Mansoureh suggests that Dohuk is a good place to explore nature with some hikes.
Her next stop was Akre where she attended a Nowruz (Persian New Year) celebration. The festival is celebrated at the beginning of Spring and features early morning torch processions in a celebration of the victory of light over darkness.
She visited the town of Lalish, which is a holy city in Yazidism.
Lastly she visited the city of Sulaymaniyah, closer to the Iranian border. The modern city was founded by an Ottoman-Kurdish prince in the 1700s.
Kurdistan is off the tourist trail. You may find yourself relying on your translation app or tourist charades, but Mansoureh thinks you will enjoy this region and its people.
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Very informative as a travel agent to listen to. My 1-year-old daughter loves your theme song also ha
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Erbil photos by YAMEN DAWOOD from Pixabay and by Saad Salim on Unsplash
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