In & Around Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan

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This post is also available in: Dutch

Erbil. A special, stunning, diverse and beautiful city in Iraqi Kurdistan. At this time of writing, there aren’t that much of high resolution photos of the city, the streets and the countryside on Google. Although, I managed to find much more information about Erbil by searching for ArbilIrbil or Hewlêr – all names for the same city. I call it Erbil, because that name gives the most search results, Erbil is printed on my ticket of the Erbil International Airport and Erbil is on Google Maps. Erbil is one of the international names for Hewlêr – the city with the great ancient Citadel in the center.

While driving through Erbil and while driving to the countryside, I decided to take one of my cameras in my hand and I managed to make some snapshots through the window of the car. The purpose was just to keep the images for myself as a reference and memory, but once I came home, back here in The Netherlands, I found to have made a lot more snapshots than I initially thought… so here they are, all in this separate album.

My love for Erbil (the city and the people) is difficult to explain. In Erbil there’s a special kind of energy, a positive energy: people are building a whole new city, almost with the speed of light. There are more and more new buildings every week, people are working day and night to build them.
On the radio there’s Babylon FM (Babylon Media), with English music on the 99.3 FM. Although I love Kurdish music (like I love much music of the Middle East) it was strange feeling to hear the same songs on the radio as here in The Netherlands, while looking through the windows of the car and seeing a complete different city with different people, a different culture and… a different style of driving. 😉

I stayed in Erbil for one week. One very short week, unfortunately. I would love to return to Erbil immediately. I felt absolutely safe every second, the Kurdish people were also very friendly, open and kind to me. The respect I received from them was overwhelming.

Erbil is a city of differences (for now, at the moment of writing). In the center of the city, around the Citadel, are many small cosy shops. In the evening hours, most of them have white cool rounded TL-light-bulbs. A strange contrast with the old walls, some old streets and the electricity wires on the roofs and the streets.
Only several streets away I saw many luxury hotels, restaurants and beautiful green parks. New traffic lights, clean streets, brand new cars and happy smiling people. There’s happiness everywhere! It gave me a feeling that people are like ready to face the future, to go for it, to build, to invent, to live. That gave me a lot of new positive energy.

I can absolutely recommend to visit Erbil. You will arrive on Erbil International Airport. There, you’ll receive your Visum immediately (no need to call in advance, if you are an EU citizen). There are drivers enough to bring you from the Airport to an hotel. I can recommend the Divan Erbil hotel: it’s clean, great food, they speak perfectly English and can arrange really everything for you. It’s one of the tallest buildings there, with a sushi bar almost on top, which gives you a great sight over the city and the Citadel.

There will follow some more, special, images in the next weeks. But for now, enjoy these. And if you didn’t see my images of the beautiful landscapes of Iraqi Kurdistan, then click HERE and take your time.