The number one recommended guide in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Hi, I'm Haval Qaraman. I've been the first tour guide in Iraqi Kurdistan since 2010 and was recommended in the 2012 version of Lonely Planet's guide to Kurdistan. I would love to help you plan your next adventure and show you everything this beautiful country has to offer.
Is Iraq Safe?
This is a commonly asked question especially because Iraq is often viewed as one of the most dangerous countries in the world, however, it's important to note the difference between Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraqi Kurdistan is a semi-autonomous region in Northern Iraq and is much safer than the rest of the country. The travel blog, Against The Compass, provides a great write-up on the safety of Iraqi Kurdistan and an excellent guide to traveling the country in general.
Rawanduz is located in the Soran District, close to the borders with Iran and Turkey and located 10 km to the east of Bekhal Waterfall. Rawanduz was the capital of the historical Soran Emirate. The majority of its inhabitants are Kurds. In the past, Rawanduz was known as a center of Kurdish resistance against the Iraqi Government.
A beautiful city sitting on a mountain plateau in the sky, Amedi has a rich history of various cultures and religions dating back to 3000 B.C. The drive there is especially beautiful in the springtime when the hills are green and sheep roam.
Barzan Gorge is one of the most beautiful highlights of any trip to Kurdistan. Described by some of my American clients as the Horseshoe Bend of Iraq, it's a hidden landmark that's been visited by few tourists and locals alike.
Come swim, barbecue and watch the sunset on the Tigris river at the cradle of civilization! Dip your toes in the waters where it all began for a once in a life time experience in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
The location of the tomb of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir, main figure of the Yezidi faith – pilgrimage site of the Yezidis – one of the most mysterious people in the world. The ancient rituals of this people are fascinating and they are considered by many to be the remnant of the original religion of Kurdistan.
Experience an adventurous journey, climbing an active aqueduct, to the most beautiful river in Iraqi Kurdistan. You'll be rewarded with a refreshing swim in ice cold, crystal clear, turquoise waters from the Kurdistani mountain snow-melt. Only available from June to October.
The Amna Suraka Prison, or Red Museum, in Sulaymaniyah, is a harrowing reminder of the horrors committed by Saddam Hussein. It's also an important memorial for the 182,000 innocent Kurdish civilians murdered in the Anfal genocide, which occurred from 1986 to 1989. Recently a new wing was also opened to commemorate the brae Kurdish fighters who fell in the battle against ISIS.
Rabban Hormizd Monastery is an important monastery of the Chaldean Catholic Church, founded about 640 AD, carved out in the mountains about 2 miles from Alqosh, Iraq, 28 miles north of Mosul. It was the official residence of the patriarchs of the Eliya line of the Church of the East from 1551 to the 18th century, and after the union with Rome in the early 19th century, it became a prominent monastery of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
Hike Halgord or Cheekha Dar mountain along the Iran and Iraq border with the best mountain guides in Kurdistan. I will drive you to the town of Choman and arrange the most experienced mountain guide in the region to accompany you on a hike to one of the highest peaks in Iraq. It’s both a challenging and very rewarding adventure!
Mar Mattai is one of the oldest Christian monasteries in existence, founded in 363, and is famous for its magnificent library and considerable collection of Syriac Christian manuscripts.
The ruins of Saddam Hussein's vacation palace on the top of Gara Mountain with a beautiful view of the surrounding areas in Duhok province. In the summer, spring and autumn season there are beautiful views of the green forest area and in winter it is absolutely spectacular and you can enjoy the company of locals celebrating the arrival of the snow season.
Bekhal Waterfall is located 10 km to the west from Rawanduz City and 135 km from Erbil. This waterfall is host for many visitors and tourists across the country.
The famous Gali Ali Beg Waterfall is 130 km from Erbil, and featured on the 5,000 dinar bill.
Between 1928 and 1932, Hamilton was the principal engineer of a British-built strategic road across Iraqi Kurdistan, running from Erbil, through Rawanduz, to the Iranian border near modern-day Piranshahr. The road became known as the Hamilton Road. Although Hamilton hoped the road would unite the peoples of the region, it has been fought over many times. He described the building of the road in a 1937 book entitled Road Through Kurdistan.
Mount Korek is a tourist attraction with Darin Group. Darin, an Iraqi company, has built a ~4 km Doppelmayr Teleferic (cable car) from its Bekhal Bottom station to Mount Korek. The mountain is developed as an international destination. The company has developed 132 villas and several rides, as well as restaurants and cafes. The resort is a summer retreat providing cool environs when the whole region reels under high temperatures. During winters, it turns into a ski resort.
Akre is located 100 km East of Duhok, 25 km from the Ruvea intersection, on the way to Erbil and the Barzan Region. The town was built on the side of a mountain range by the Kurdish Prince Zand in 580 B.C. Akre is rich in historical sites, such as temples, statues, and ancient buildings, and mineral springs can be found near the town. Akre is famous for its delicious figs, and has a beautiful old bazaar in the center of the town which many locals visit daily.
Shanidar Cave is an archaeological site located on Bradost Mountain in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The remains of ten Neanderthals, dating from 35,000 to 65,000 years ago, have been found within the cave. The cave also contains two later "proto-Neolithic" cemeteries, one of which dates back about 10,600 years and contains 35 individuals.
Zorgvan Valley is a beautiful hiking location in Erbil Province, with many locals visiting in spring time for picnics. In the warmer months you can swim in the valley and enjoy walking alongside the water.