Erbil is the largest, most populated city in Iraqi Kurdistan. It is the capital of the Kurdistan region, situated in its centre in the north of Iraq. It has a long, established history which is believed to date back to 5000 BC. If correct, this makes it one of the oldest inhabited developments in the world. For this reason alone, it’s a great location to visit, but there are many more. This includes vibrant bazaars, bustling cafes, truly historical sites and very friendly locals who are warm and approachable. The majority are Kurds but there is a very diverse population that covers many different ethnic groups, who are balanced and in synergy.
At the heart of the city is the ancient Citadel of Erbil which is a walled mound that is on the World Heritage List and is a particularly intriguing. In terms of business, Erbil is said to be booming with continuing development, investment, construction and investment. There are some magnificent hotels, and they too are increasing in number.
There are many things to do in Erbil which includes visiting historical sites, cafes, markets and trying foods. It is not a large city, so it is easy to get around on foot which allows you to see everything in detail as you move.
One of the central areas is the Main Square which is busy and enjoyable with plenty going on and lots of cafes to sit at, observe from and socialise. The tea cafes are very popular. Nearby is the ancient Citadel situated on a mound. There is currently lots of renovation, with the plan to reintroduce new families when it is completed. However, it can still be visited and viewed.
The shops, particularly the covered bazaars, are a great way to spend your time. They are busy, bustling and also neat and tidy and very presentable. There is a great range of local goods including foodstuffs, crafts and textiles. It’s a great place to really intermingle and observe.
Due to events that have taken place in this part of the world, a reasonable approach needs to be followed when exploring. However, the city itself is rated as very safe on the main registers.
Sites to visit include the Qaysari Bazaars, which are close to the Citadel; the 12th century, 36 metre high Mudhafaria Minaret; Sami Abdulrahman Park, a large beautiful expanse with lakes; the Kurdish Textile Museum, and of course the Citadel itself.