Erbil is an ancient city in Iraq, and it is the capital of the Erbil Governorate. It has a population of over 1.6 million permanent citizens and is one of the oldest populated areas in the world. In 2014 the city was named the Arab Tourism Capital and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. A major international airport opened in 2015, helping to connect the area to the rest of the world.
The city is known for its beautiful religious sites, such as the ancient Citadel; parts of this area date back to the fifth millennium B.C.. There are also many restaurants serving delicious Middle Eastern and Indian food as well as a fun calendar of events that includes shopping festivals and expos.
Things to Do
There are many things to do and see in beautiful and historic Erbil. There are many ancient buildings and mosques as well as markets, shopping centres and restaurants. There are several important religious sites (that are popular with locals and tourists alike) and unique restaurants serving traditional local delicacies.
The most relaxing spot in the city
Sami Abdulrahman Park is located right in the heart of the city. It consists of various 'segments': some are dedicated to kids for playing and others are just for adults to relax in peace. It's even possible to take a boat trip on the lake.
A world-famous attraction
The Citadel of Arbil is at the heart and centre of the city and is between 25 and 32 metres high. The buildings on the top are extremely old; some people have claimed that this town is possibly the oldest continuously inhabited urban area in the world.
Experience a spice sensation
The most popular restaurant in the city is India Gate. It may look understated, with low-key decor and a charmingly old-fashioned feel, but the food is second to none. It sells a variety of spiced dishes, always with an authentic feel.
Calendar of Events
There are many events in Erbil throughout the year. They range from food festivals to expos and religious events and show off all the best culture that the city has to offer.
Hala Erbil Shopping Festival. This recurring festival is a great way to meet new people and socialise with friends and family. It takes place in June and July and features a range of activities from music to beauty pageants. It also gives shoppers the opportunity to win prizes and vouchers.
The Furn Expo. The Furn Expo has been running for several years now, and it is a highly popular event. Hosted at the International Fairground, is is a chance for homeware and textile companies to exhibit their products. It's a great place to pick up fabric, cushions, rugs and more.
The International Marathon. This popular event draws large crowds due to its upbeat and exciting atmosphere. Held in October due to the slightly cooler weather, hundreds of runners come together to compete in this marathon through the streets of the city.