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Iraq - A Journey to the Cradle of Civilization

Iraq - A Journey to the Cradle of Civilization 1660 , 9 Days
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After years of political turmoil and military crisis, Iraq is slowly rising from the ashes. The country is now open to travelers and is ready to show its historical and cultural heritage to the world. And being home to some of the world’s earliest empires - the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians - it sure has a lot to show. Traces of those ancient civilisations can be found all over the country in places like the city of Babylon – where the iconic “hanging gardens of Babylon” once stood, the ancient city of Ur – known as the birthplace of prophet Abraham and Uruk – the place where writing is thought to have originated and developed. Some of the holiest places in Islam can also be found here - like the Imam Husayn Mosque in Karbala and the city of Najaf.

Baghdad - capital and largest city of Iraq;
♦ The ruins of the ancient city of Babylon;
Karbala - one of the holiest cities for Shia Muslims;
♦ The ancient Sumerian city of Ur, also believed to be the birthplace of Abraham.


 Day 1. Arrival in Baghdad

Arrival in Baghdad and transfer to the hotel for overnight. -/-/-

 Day 2. Baghdad city tour

 After breakfast we start our tour of the city with a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Iraq which preserves important objects representing the last 7000 years of the region's history. We will then have a walk along the famous Al-Mutanabi Street - the site of the first book traders' market in the metropolis that was once Baghdad and the copper market Souk al-Safareen. We will visit the Mustansiriya Madrasah (schoold) - in the 13th century it was the most prominent centre for Islamic studies in the region and has since become the most iconic architectural masterpiece of Baghdad. In the afternoon we will travel about 30km southwest to explore the ancient city of Ctesiphon. It was once an important trade centre along the Silk Road and capital of Parthian and Sasanian empires. B/-/-

Day 3.Baghdad- Babylon - Karbala

Today we will visit the legendary city of Babylon. Although very little is left of its actual ruins, it is still impresive to walk the same streets that the rulers of one of the most prominent ancient empires once did and where Alexander the Great died. The city prospered under the reign of Nebuchadrezzar II - one of the most powerful monarchs of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. In the 20th century, Saddam Hussein, who saw himself as a modern reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar, sponsored a reconstruction of the city. The construction was rather modern and didn't take into consideration the actual ruins and was thus derided by the archelogical world. We will get the chance to walk through a reconstruction of the glorious Ishtar Gate - constructed of vibrant blue tiles and adorned with depictions of fantastic animals. We will then proceed to the Karbala - a holy city for the Shia Muslims. It's the place of one of the largest religious gatherings in the world. Every year hundreds of thousand of Shia Muslims come here to mark the holy day of Ashura and commemorate the martyrdom in battle of the Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, in 680AD. Overnight in a hotel in Karbala. B/-/-

Day 4. Karbala - Al Kifl - Kufa – Najaf

Today we continue our tour with a visit to another holy Islamic city - Najaf. Here we will visit the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali - prophet Mohammad’s cousin and son-in-law and the fourth caliph (656-661). Some Shia Muslims believe that here, next to the tomb of Imam Ali are burried the remains of Adam and Noah. Thousands of pilgrims come here every year to pray by the gold-doomed shrine and spend time with their families. On the way there we will stop for a visit to another important pilgrimage site - the tomb of the old testament prophet Ezekiel in the city of Al Kilf. What makes this place special is its shared history and importance for both Muslim and Jewish devotees. The site is esentially an encient Jewish shrine enclosed in an Islamic mosque. Both Hebrew and Arabic inscriptions are visiblle on the walls of the tomb and serve as a reminder of Jewish, Chstistian and Muslim's shared Abrahamic roots. In the evening we will wander aroud the souks of Najaf before returning to our hotel for overnight. B/-/-

Day 5. Najaf - Uruk - Nasiriya

We will start our day with a visit to Samawah - an ancient city build on the both sides of the Euphrates River by the Arab Banu Quda'a tribes in the 3rd century AD. We will continue to Uruk - the site of one of the largest settlements in Mesopotamia existing in around 3200 BC. It was around that time that the cuneiform writing was developed. It is logo-syllabic script inscribed in clay tablets and is considered one of the first forms of writing in the world and the most significant cultural contributions of the Sumerians.We will then proceed to Nasiriya where we will stroll around the bustling markets before settling in our hotel for overnight. B/-/

Day 6. Nasiriya - Ur

 Today we will visit the ancient city of Ur - a Sumerian city-state built in 3800 B.C. It is also believed to be the biblical "Ur of the Chaldees" - the birthplace of Abraham.We will tour the famous Ziggurat of Ur - a stone temple complex built in honour of the moon God Nanna, the patron deity of the city. In the afternoon we will go back to Nasiriya and explore its busy markets. Overnigh in the hotel. B/-/- 

 Day 7. Nasiriya - Marshes – Basra

Today we will spend our day canoeing along the Marshes - one of the largest wetland ecosystems in the Middle East and explore their incredible wildlife. We will get to learn more about the Ma'dan people, also known as Marsh Arabs - who have lived on those wetlands for thousands of years and have managed to sustain their traditional lifestyle to present days. Their lifestyle and culture was centered on their natural surrounding: a great example of that are the traditional reed houses, built from the reed growing in the wetlands.Here we will discover yet another biblical reference -as many people believe that the Marshes were the inspiration for the Bible's Garden of Eden. In the evening we continue to Basra where we will spend the night in a hotel. B/-/

Day 8. Basra

Today we will explore Basra - the second largest city in Iraq. We will walk around the old town and get to see the beautiful old houses built in the 16th and the17th century. Although most of them are unfortunately uninhabited now and slowly crumbling away, they are still telling the story of the town's glorious past. We will then finish our tour properly with a sunset boat ride down the magnificent Shatt al-Arab river. Dinner and overnight in Basra. B/-/-

 Day 9. Departure

Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the airport for departure.B/-/-


Price Includes:
accommodation in standard hotels
all ground transportation
airport transfers
entrance fees according to the itinerary; meals according to the itinerary
local English speaking guides
tour Leader from Penguin Travel. (at min. 8 participants)

Not Included:
international flights
meals not mentioned in the program
tips
personal expenses


Iraq - A Journey to the Cradle of Civilization (Rated 4.94 / 5 Based on 15 Reviews.)
Price
1660 EUR
Duration
9 Days
Single Supplement
260 EUR
Status
Closed
Price
1660 EUR
Duration
9 Days
Single Supplement
260 EUR
Status
Open for booking
Price
1660 EUR
Duration
9 Days
Single Supplement
260 EUR
Status
Open for booking

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

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