Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by 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 and largest city is Baghdad.
Iraq has a coastline measuring 58 km (36 miles) on the northern Persian Gulf and 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 Iraq and 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, historically known as Mesopotamia, is often referred to as the cradle of civilisation. It was here that mankind first began to read, write, create laws and live in cities under an organised government—notably Uruk, from which "Iraq" is derived. The area has been home to successive civilisations since the 6th millennium BC. Iraq was the centre of the Akkadian, Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian empires. It was also part of the Median, Achaemenid, Hellenistic, Parthian, Sassanid, Roman, Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid, Ayyubid, Seljuk, Mongol, Timurid, Safavid, Afsharid and Ottoman empires.
10:00am-11:30am : Family Mall, Erbil
Spend some family time at Family Mall, a modern structure that covers an area of about 120,000 sq m (1,291,670 sq ft). The mall boasts 130 shops of various kinds, including bookshops, craft stores, technology shops, fashion boutiques, and cosmetic counters. Buy groceries in the supermarket, have a meal at a fast-food place, or take in a movie at the mall cinema that has 14 screens and 2,000 seats. Retail shops include brands such as Mango, DKNY, Timberland, Springfield and others.
1:30pm-4:00pm : The Korek Mountain Resort & Spa
With 60 to 100 days of snowfall between December and March, The Korek Mountain Resort & Spa delights winter sport fans, but also remains a year-round destination for outdoor adventures. Ride the scenic cable car to the top, and then, depending on the season, ski, snowboard, or hike your way down one of Iraq's highest peaks. The summit has several restaurants serving up tasty Kurdish food. Alternatively, order a coffee and simply appreciate the views, which extend all the way to Iran and Turkey's Northern Kurdistan on a clear day. If you want to extend your stay, check out the sophisticated accommodation options.
10:00am-2:00pm : Sami Abdulrahman Park
Built on the site of Saddam Hussein's former military base and detention camp, Sami Abdulrahman Park draws scores of locals for relaxation and recreation. Favored by families and wedding parties, the park boasts rolling green lawns, lakes with fountains, rose gardens, children's playgrounds, and a small amphitheater. Take a jog along the running track, or simply stroll the tree-lined pathways and soak in the atmosphere. The park commemorates a former prime minister that was one of nearly 100 people who lost their lives in a 2004 terrorist attack. See their names inscribed in the memorial monument, together with words "Freedom is not free."
2:30pm-5:00pm : Kurdish Textile Museum
At Kurdish Textile Museum, get a feel for Kurdish history and culture by inspecting a colorful diversity of textile artworks. Located on the top floor of a local citadel, the museum's picturesque setting thematically complements the exhibits. Explore the museum's two floors and you’ll see numerous items made according to the Kurdish tribes’ tradition, including carpets, rugs, tapestries, hats, and other examples of various fabrics, all of which once formed part of a private collection. After you’ve finished your tour, explore the rest of the citadel.
10:00am-11:30am : Bazaar
Delve into Bazaar, a large market selling authentic produce of Iraq. Look for bargains on vegetables, fish, spices, clothing, sweets, and antiques. Spend hours here and experience shopping like a local at a busy Iraqi market, infused with the aroma of spices held in traditional sacks.
12:00pm-1:00pm : Erbil Citadel
The World Heritage Site of Erbil Citadel showcases a historic fortress perched upon a large 'tell', a mound formed by the site being constantly occupied since the ancient times. Excavations show evidence of the citadel’s inhabitation in the 5th millennium BC, and possibly even earlier, in the Neolithic Period. Exploring the maze-like alleys and antique buildings within the citadel’s stone walls, you will discover thousands of years of Erbil’s rich history and cultural heritage, from prehistoric times to the Neo-Assyrian and Ottoman eras.
1:30pm-3:30pm : Shanadar Park
One of the finest parks in Erbil, Shanadar Park offers a green getaway from the busy streets and the crowds. Relax and unwind in the quiet park on the shaded benches, or go to one of the restaurants and cafes for a refreshing drink and meal. Enjoy the maintained gardens featuring a variety of plant species, and the small, clean lake in the middle. Head to the onsite art gallery, where you can learn about the local artists and admire their works.
4:00pm-6:00pm : Gali Ali Bag
9:00-10:30 : Najaf
11:00am-11:30pm : Al Sahlah Great Mosque, Kufa
12:00pm-1:30pm : Great Mosque of Kufa, Kufa
Visit Great Mosque of Kufa, a site where people believe the Prophet Muhammed stopped before going to God. The mosque suffered most during Saddam Hussein's regime, as he closed it to avoid gatherings. See valuable decorations containing rubies, diamonds, gold, and silver. Inside the mosque you can see tiles and marble, the same as the ones in Mecca. Look carefully to see details, including verses from the Quran, on the walls inside. Both the interior and exterior achieve impressive architectural accomplishments.
2:00pm-6:00pm : Shrine Amir al-mo'menin Ali bin Abi Talib peace be upon him
Pay your respects at Shrine Amir al-mo'menin Ali bin Abi Talib peace be upon him, considered the third holiest pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims. The complex serves as the resting place for the first imam, Ali ibn Abi Talib, and is also believed by many to house the remains of Noah and Adam. The complex was built around the imam’s grave in 977 CE, and has since been damaged and repaired several times. Reflect on the ancient traditional Islamic architecture, and don’t miss seeing the gold veranda, which serves as an entirely gilded entrance to the building.
9:00:30am-10:30pm : Baghdad
11:00am-12:30pm : Baghdadi Museum
see wax statues that represent different situations throughout history at Baghdadi Museum. The museum has been closed and reopened many times during conflicts, but nothing was damaged. See the history of Baghdad and learn about situations from the everyday life of locals through the region's clothing, tools, and household items. In addition, you can see important historical figures who contributed to society in the museum.
1:00pm-2.30pm : Al Yassin Mosque
See a jewel of Islamic architecture at Al Yassin Mosque, whose golden dome and four golden minarets remain a shining landmark on Baghdad's skyline. Years of reconstruction have restored the iconic mosque to its former glory after destruction during the U.S.-led invasion. Visit the graves of 8th-century Shiite Imam Musa Al-Kadhim, and 9th-century Imam Muhammad Al-Jawad, descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. At the time of prayers the mosque fills with visitors. Expect a high level of security and safety measures in place.
3:00pm-6:00pm : Iraqi Museum
The largest museum in the country, Iraqi Museum displays innumerable artifacts dating back to ancient Mesopotamia. Across 28 rooms and galleries, the exhibits showcase the development of the people and cutures in this territory, from 10,000 years ago to today. The museum was looted in 2003, when over 500,000 artifacts were plundered, and the site was partially demolished. However, with the help of UNESCO, most of the exhibits were returned, and, after a long renovation, the museum reopened in 2015. Now you can visit and see everything from hunting tools to statues, legal documents, paintings, and much more.
10:00am-6:00pm : Zawraa Park
A family attraction, Zawraa Park offers a ferris wheel in addition to a zoo. The green area makes a good spot for engaging in some recreational activities before or after visiting the amusement park. In addition, go to the zoo and see wild animals, such as tigers, lions, and different kinds of birds. The police secures the park and checks your bags. While taking a stroll around the park, you can enjoy artistically arranged flowers.
10:00am-11:00am : Al-Shaheed Monument
Located on the banks of the Tigris River, Al-Shaheed Monument serves as a reminder of the hardships and the large loss of life in the Iraq-Iran War. The 40 m (131 ft) high turquoise dome stands split in half, with a flame-like Iraqi flag in between. Designed by renowned architect Saman Kamal and sculptor Ismail Fatah Al Turk, the monument occupies an enormous platform in the center of an artificial lake.
11:30am-1:00pm : Abu Hanifa Mosque
Explore one of the most famous religious sites in the city at Abu Hanifa Mosque, built around the tomb of Abu Hanifah an-Nu'man. The 8th-century Sunni Imam founded the school of Islamic law studies. Walk around the building to take in the mesmerizing architecture, including a great hall with eight marble pillars and huge chandeliers. Reflect on the wall decorations carved in marble from Jordan.
1:30pm-2:30pm : Al-Mutanabbi Statue
Commemorating a celebrated 10th-century Arab poet, Al-Mutanabbi Statue stands surrounded by bookshops, cafes, and historical buildings. Pay your respects to the 10th-century Al-Mutanabbi, whose witty, intelligent lines still circulate widely as proverbs. Shop for books, magazines, and anything printed under the sun, or grab a seat in a cafe and take in the buzzing atmosphere of intellectuals and artists.
3:00pm-5:00pm : Al Mansur Mall
One of the largest in Baghdad, Al Mansur Mall offers a large number of stores, food courts, and places to relax and have fun. The mall is divided into several sections--such as shoes, clothes, electronics, and food--with every section containing a range of stores offering various brands, both international and local. Don’t miss the food courts, where you can take a break and enjoy a delicious snack. The mall also features a 5D cinema, as well as a large play area for children.
6:30pm-8:30pm : Erbil