Iraqi Kurdistan 1050 , 7 Days

Do not look for such country on the map. You will not find it. But it exists, albeit without borders. 30 million people, descendants of the ancient Asia Minor tribes inhabit one of the most interesting areas of the world. What is now Iraqi Kurdistan was once the place where some of the greatest ancient civilizations flourished. The  Assyrians and Hurrians, Kimmerians, Medes and Hittites, Persians and Armenians all left their traces all over the country.

References to Biblical places and stories can be found all over the territory as well. Although this region invokes associations with war and danger, we will calm down the prospective tourist - the itinerary of the tour is far from the “hot” spots of Iraq, so the tour is perfectly safe. Besides its unique cultural and historical landmarks, Kurdistan is famous for its beautiful nature - harsh mountains alternate with deserts and vast green fields. Let’s experience together the oriental charm of this little known territory!

Highlights:
- Erbil – the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan
- Hamilton Road - built between the two world wars. This road is a remarkable engineering achievement - it crosses five mountain ranges and connects the inland with the Mediterranean
- Lalish Temple - the holiest temple for the followers of the Yazidi faith
- Rabban Hormizd Monastery - an important site of the Chaldean Church and a place with a great historical significance
- Shanidar cave - where the remains of the most famous Neanderthal in the world,named Nandy were found
- The Red Security Museum - former prison with a bloody history where many Kurds were tortured and executed


Itinerary:

Day 1. Arrival in Erbil
Arrival in Erbil - the capital of Kurdistan Region. Check-in at the hotel and city sightseeing tour.

Day 2. Erbil - Shaqlawa city
Today we will continue exploring the city. We will visit the Citadel of Ebril - one of the most ancient ones known to the world,dating back to the 5th millennium BC or possibly even earlier. Built in the center of the city on a 25-meter-high hill, the citadel covers 110,000 square meters and is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We will see The Mudhafaria Minaret (22m high), which the locals refer to as "Choli" since it was far from the city.

We will admire the aesthetics of its Hazar-Baf motifs and Kufic calligraphy. Another stunning archeological site is located on a small hill just 20 km from Erbil - Khanzad (Banaman) Citadel. Built from stones and gypsum in the 16th century, much of its original shape is still preserved. We continue driving northeast untill we reach the city often called  "The Pride of Kurdistan" - Shaqlawa, with its numerous waterfalls and springs, lavish greenery and magnificent mountain views. Overnight in Erbil. 

Day 3. Erbil - Lalish temple - Alqosh - Dohuk city - Erbil 
Today we will visit the Lalish temple and get to learn more about the Yazidi faith since this is the holiest temple for its followers. Yazidis believe this is the place where Noah's Ark first hit land after the flood and the new civilisation began.This is also the place where the tomb of Sheikh Adi Ibn Musafir - a key figure in Yazidi faith is located. At least once in their lifetime Yazidis are expected to do a six -day pilgrimage to the temple to see the tomb.The ones that live in the region do the pilgrimage every year during the most important Yazidi holiday - The Autumn Assembly. We will continue the tour with a visit to another important site - the ancient Assyrian site of Khenis, also known as King Sanhared's resort, located among pure water streams and the majestic mountains. We will explore the numerous carvings in the rocks, sculptures and caves.

Located in the Nineveh Plains is Alqosh - the ancient christian city where we will see the tomb of Old Testament Prophet Nahum. Here is also the Mar Gorgis Church - one of the most ancient ones in the city and Mar Mekha Churches.The next stop is Rabban Hormizd Monastery - an important site of the Chaldean Church and a place with a great historical significance. Carved in the mountains, it was founded by a Syriac monk in 7th century and has been official residence of the patriarchs of the Eliya line of the Church of the East from the 16th to the 18th century, and after the union with  Rome in the early 19th century, it became a prominent monastery of the Chaldean Church. Visiting Dohuk city, then back to Erbil. 

Day 4. Amadiya - Barzan region - Hamilton Road - Erbil
We start our day with a visit to Amadiya - ancient Assyrian city dating back to 25th century BC. We will explore the region of Barzan where a local Kurish official will take us to Shanidar cave - where remains from the Neanderthals were found. Among them is one the most famous Neanderthals in the world, named Nandy. We will see the memorial of Mullah Mustapha Barzani - father of modern Kurdistan. Taking the scenic Hamilton Road, we will go back to Erbil for overnight.

Day 5. Koy Sanjaq - Qzqaban Excavation - Suleymaniyah Today we will visit the city of Koy Sanjaq or more famous as "Koya". We will test our haggling skills at its Qaisari bazaar - one of the oldest ones in the region.  The next point of interest of the day is Qzqaban Excavation - a Zoroastrian tomb, carved in a cliff about 7 metres above ground level. In Sulaymaniyah we will see two museums: The Red Security -  museum which used to be a prison where many Kurds were tortured and even executed during the Saddam Hussein regime and Sulaymaniyah Museum, where we will see many interesting artifacts some dating back to pre-historic times. At the Suleymaniyah Bazaar we can try the many different sweets it is famous for. Overnight in Suleymaniyah.

Day 6. Halabja - Qaradagh - Erbil
Today we are heading to Halabja where we will see the Martyrs Monument built to commemorate the over 5 000 victims of the horrific chemical attack of 1988. We will then go back to Qaradagh area and visit the rock relief of the Akkadian king Naram Sin. Back to Erbil city for overnight.

Day 7. Departure


Price Includes:
6 nights in standard 2** and 3*** hotels,rooms with private facilities and breakfast
all transport in AC bus/minivan
airport transfers
local English speaking guide and Penguin tour leader (at min. 8 p)

Not Included:
visa entrance to Kurdistan
personal requests
alcoholic drinks
fee entrance to tourist sites and museums

Additional Services:
Supplement per person for a group of 4/5: 170 EUR


Gallery


Iraqi Kurdistan (Rated 4.94 / 5 Based on 133 Reviews.)
Price
1050 EUR
Duration
7 Days
Single Supplement
160 EUR
Status
Open for booking
Price
1050 EUR
Duration
7 Days
Single Supplement
160 EUR
Status
Open for booking

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

Group Size
6-12
Reservation System Code
Iraqi Kurdistan
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