Kurdistan Regional Government
TUE, 21 NOV 2017 16:49 Erbil, GMT +3

Tourism: Unspoiled mountain scenery off the beaten track

SUN, 27 JUN 2010 18:40 | KRG Cabinet

Amedi, once a principality, sits atop a plateau
The Kurdistan Region is an ideal destination for those seeking unspoiled mountain scenery and ancient archeological sites off the beaten track.

Hillside resorts and lakes
During the Kurdistan Region’s long hot summers, visitors and locals can enjoy the cooler weather of Kurdistan’s hillside resorts.

The town of Shaqlawa, about 50 kilometres from the capital Erbil, lies at the base of Mount Safeen which is nearly 2,000 metres high at its peak. It has several fruit orchards, a food market, restaurants and hotels. Further away deeper into the mountains and gorges, Gali Ali Beg and Bekhal waterfalls and the water source at Jundyan offer beautiful scenery and a place to stop and enjoy lunch or a drink at the outdoor restaurants, or simply sit down to enjoy your own picnic in a quiet spot.

The Pank Resort is under construction in the small town of Rawandoz, which was the capital of Soran principality until the 19th century. The resort already boasts a roller-coaster sledge ride.

At Haji Umran, where you will find the Kurdistan Region’s highest mountains, the spa water is renowned locally for treating ailments and the highlands usually remain green through summer.

About 70 kilometres from Suleimaniah, the picturesque Dokan and Derbendikhan lakes are lined with cabins for visitors to enjoy boating or swimming. The lakes are a result of hydroelectric power dams built decades ago.

At Ahmadawa, east of Suleimaniah, springs form several waterfalls surrounded by walnut, pomegranate and fig trees, attracting visitors to their cool shade.

In Duhok province at Silav resort, open-air restaurants provide a view looking up to the nearby ancient town of Amedi (Amadiya), which sits atop a two-kilometre wide plateau. Muslims and Christians have lived alongside each other for centuries in this small town. In former times, it was also home to a thriving Jewish community. Amadiya offers a wonderful view of the nearby valleys and gorges.

The best time to visit Kurdistan is March when people celebrate Nawroz, the New Year marked by the spring equinox, by having picnics and dancing in the hills and valleys. In October and November, the weather is very pleasant and still warm enough to enjoy sightseeing.

Bazaars and museums
Erbil and Suleimaniah each have a museum holding collections of antiquities, statues and remains from the Region, while Duhok Traditional Museum displays Kurdistan’s folklore and heritage. Read more about Kurdistan's archeological sites.

Inside the ancient citadel of Erbil, you will find a beautiful traditional rugs and textiles at the Kurdish Textile Museum. The museum also showcases and preserves textile techniques by traditional tribes and endangered nomads of Kurdistan.

Video: To watch a Voice of America report on the Kurdish Textile Museum's work, please Click here

The citadel offers great views over the city. Erbil also benefits from an archeological museum and near the town centre is the Sheikh Chooli Minaret, built by Sultan Mozafaredin between 543 and 586 AD and inscribed with Kufic caligraphy. Sami Abdul Rahman Park, stretching over many hectares, is the ideal place to enjoy greenery, peace and quiet without having to leave the city.

Suleimaniah, Kurdistan's cultural capital, has a bustling bazaar as well as the modern Altun shopping centre and a bowiling alley. At the large Azadi Park, children can use the playground, swimming pool and artificial lakes. The public garden in the city centre features statues of poets and writers.

See also flights to the Kurdistan Region and a Travel Fact Sheet.

Ministry of Municipalities and Tourism
To learn more about tourism in Kurdistan, please visit the official Kurdistan Tourism website, www.tourismkurdistan.com.

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