Travel to Iraq Kurdistan – Episode 809

categories: asia travel, middle east travel

Travel to Iraq Kurdistan (Podcast)

Hear about travel to Kurdistan in northern Iraq as the Amateur Traveler talks to Mansoureh Farahani from about her travels in this off-the-beaten-path destination.

Mansoureh says, “If people are interested in culture, definitely they should travel to Kurdistan. If they love good food, not good for vegetarians or vegans, but if you are a meat eater,  you definitely need to go to the middle east and Kurdistan. And they have so many delicious foods. And if you want to meet new people and you want to make friends, Kurdish people are the best. You feel like you are so welcome there. And also history. The region has a long history and rich history, and they have different religions, and also they have a lot of history about Christianity, Islam, and also Yazidism, a different religion.”

We start in Erbil which is the biggest city and the capital of Kurdistan. In Erbil, Mansoureh suggests visiting the bazaar and also the citadel. the citadel of Erbil is a World Heritage Site. People have occupied the citadel mound since at least the 5th century B.C. When it is time to leave, grab a shared taxi to Dohuk, which is in the mountains in the north.

The origins of Dohuk go back to the stone age. Like so much of the region, it was ruled by many different empires, including the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Mongols, and Ottomans. Mansoureh suggests that Dohuk is a good place to explore nature with some hikes.

Her next stop was Akre where she attended a Nowruz (Persian New Year) celebration. The festival is celebrated at the beginning of Spring and features early morning torch processions in a celebration of the victory of light over darkness.

She visited the town of Lalish, which is a holy city in Yazidism. 

Lastly she visited the city of Sulaymaniyah, closer to the Iranian border. The modern city was founded by an Ottoman-Kurdish prince in the 1700s.

Kurdistan is off the tourist trail. You may find yourself relying on your translation app or tourist charades, but Mansoureh thinks you will enjoy this region and its people.

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Show Notes

Travel With Mansoureh
Iraq Kurdistan
Rabban Hormizd Monastery
Travel to Northern Iraq (Podcast) – Amateur Traveler
Amna Suraka
Akre in Kurdistan: The CAPITAL OF NOWRUZ in Iraq


Love it ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Very informative as a travel agent to listen to. My 1-year-old daughter loves your theme song also ha
kate0748 via Apple Podcasts

I have upcoming trips to the Basilicata and Calabria regions of Italy in September (with a day in Rome where we’ll visit the Coliseum).  Have you done any podcasts on villages in Basilicata and Calabria? 

– Kenneth

Hey Chris,

Happy 17th!

And, yes, I have listened to every podcast at least once!  I do enjoy them.

Here’s to the next 17!

A very loyal listener (without trying to be a stalker)!


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Erbil photos by YAMEN DAWOOD from Pixabay and by Saad Salim on Unsplash

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

2 Responses to “Travel to Iraq Kurdistan – Episode 809”

Doug Henningsen


Great podcast! A trip to Kurdistan would be so interesting and educational. However, for some of us that might not blend in walking the bazaar in Erbil, what are the risks and how are those minimized? US Dept of State has a simple “Do Not Travel” for the area. Maybe this is a separate podcast or bring on a guest after Mansoureh to openly discuss the risks.

Chris Christensen


I find that most people are not a good judge of risks. I was fine; therefore, you will be fine. “I felt safe”. On the other hand, the U.S. State Department does tend to paint with a wide brush.

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