Erbil Citadel is the stand out monument of the city. In addition, it’s the only UNESCO site in this region. As a matter of fact the history of this small hill dates back over 7000 years. The imposing walls you see today however, were built in the 19th century. Moreover, the Citadel was restored again at the start of this century. Due to it’s oval shape, the Citadel is a photographers dream. Add the fact there’s a reflecting pool in front of it as well as a huge plaza makes this a top Instagram spot in Erbil. Finally, the Citadel offers wonderful panoramic views over both North and South Erbil
Castle Fountains and Gardens
If the view of the Citadel from the gardens is majestic, how about the view from the Citadel? One side offers stunning views of the gardens and the other you can see the stunning Jalil Khayat Mosque. By the way, the castle fountains and gardens are a good place to relax. To complement this, there are vendors selling tea and coffee. Don’t be surprised if friendly locals approach you for a chat.
Jalil Khayat Mosque
For me, Jalil Khayat Mosque is one of the most beautiful in the world. It almost looks like something from an Aladdin movie with its green dome. That’s before you enter and see the rainbow colored interior. For this reason, and also the fact you’re welcome to check out the interior, I highly recommend you visit. Finally, a couple of Jalil Khayat Mosque facts. It’s the biggest mosque in Erbil and it’s also a Sunni Islamic mosque.
Jalil Khayat Mosque – Interior
When you visit the mosque – go inside. The rainbow colored interior will blow your mind. I’ve shared a picture of the Instagram worthy exterior which is another reason this is the most beautiful mosque in the world.
The Citadel features a northern and a southern gate. These gates are connected by a straight road which features several of the cities points of interest. It’s quite clear these gates have been recently reconstructed.
Kurdish Textile Museum
A good reason to visit the Kurdish textile museum is to see the interior of a house on the Citadel. Secondly, you’ll learn all about the importance of handcrafted art in this region. Not only are their pieces from settled tribes in the area but also from the nomads. Those who love this kind of art, art which Kurd’s believe connects them to earth, will be in their element.
Kurdish Textile Museum – Coffee Shop
The upstairs part of the Kurdish textile museum features a small coffee shop. What better way to enjoy a coffee than in a historic house surrounded by Kurdish rugs? Not to mention the fact you are escaping the Erbil Iraq heat.
The Grand Mosque of Erbil is nowhere near as beautiful as the Jalil Khayat Mosque. None the less, what it lacks in beauty it makes up for with history. You can’t miss it as it’s right in the middle of the Citadel.
Erbil Stones and Gemstones Museum
Erbil stones and gem stones museum features several pretty stones. There are three main types which are; Igneous rock, sedimentary rock and also metamorphic rock. Those who love jewelry and bright colored rocks will enjoy a visit to this historic Erbil house.
Erbil Souk is huge and spreads out all around the castle fountains and gardens. What’s more, you can have an excellent souk experience here. As there are no tourists in this part of the world you won’t experience anyone bothering you. As a matter of fact, you can freely walk around and look wherever you want without any hassle. Of course, I still recommend you bargain for any item you may desire.
Have you ever seen stacks of money piled up? This is exactly what you’ll see when you pass through the money market. Iraqi dinar, dollars, euros, Turkish lira and also Iranian rial are all piled high throughout this market. Is Erbil Iraq safe? Judging by how they stack their cash, it certainly is. I don’t think you could get away with this in several European cities such as London, Amsterdam or Berlin.
Street Art in Erbil Iraq
Street art is always controversial in parts of the world affected by wars and tensions. Take Bethlehem, Palestine or Mostar, Bosnia for example. As you explore the streets of Erbil Iraq, I guarantee you’ll discover some interesting street art.
Erbil International Stadium
Erbil International Stadium is home to Erbil SC. They play in the Iraqi premier league. Check the football schedule and see if there’s a match on when you’re in town. Maybe there’s no match on and you still want to see the stadium. Read about an Erbil Stadium Tour on my travel blog. Carrefour supermarket is conveniently located next door.
Erbil Christian District
The Christian district is famous for its nightlife. Of course, you cannot buy alcohol in the Muslim areas but it’s a different story when you arrive in the Christian district. For this reason, many tourists choose to stay in this area. In conclusion, it’s proof that Christians and Muslims can live peacefully together. Lastly, another city where Muslims and Christians live peacefully together is Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Destroyed Buildings in Erbil Iraq
There is a genre of tourist which like to visit Erbil who are into dark tourism. For this reason, you may search for destroyed or damaged buildings. Simply explore the city on foot as destroyed buildings are everywhere. I found this one above in the Christian district but most are directly south east of the Citadel.
Enjoy your Erbil Iraq Kurdistan Visit
For me, the most beautiful parts are the Citadel and its surroundings. The surprise of Erbil Iraq was the colorful interior of the Jalil Khayat Mosque. I can’t think of a more beautiful mosque anywhere in the world. Additionally, you may wish to visit Shanadar Park at sunset. But most of all, the friendliness of the people will surprise you. Enjoy.