Monday 22 April 2019
IRAQ: Sulaymaniyah Is The Tourism City And Paris Of Iraq
One of the major cities in both so called Kurdistan region and Iraq, situated 385 Km north Baghdad and 198 Km north east Erbil the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
The city sits between two chains of mountains, Goyzha and Glazarda longitude (44.50- 46.16) East and latitude (35.04 - 36.30) North. The city was founded by Ibrahim Pasha in the year 1784.
Claudius James Rich the famous (March 28, 1787 - October 5, 1821) the British traveler and antiquarian scholar said in his book that Sulaimaniya from the beginning of its establishment had large markets, clean public baths of Turkish design.
Today Sulaimani has developed in most modern life aspects, hotels, motels, supermarkets & Malls, theatres, restaurants & Parks.
Sulaymaniyah, also called Slemani, is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan. It is surrounded by the Azmer Range, Goyija Range and the Qaiwan Range in the northeast, Baranan Mountain in the south and the Tasluja Hills in the west.
The city has a semi-arid climate with very hot dry summers and cool wet winters. Sulaymaniyah served as the capital of the historic principality of Baban from 1784 to 1850.
The modern city of Sulaymaniyah was founded on 14 November 1784 by the Kurdish prince Ibrahim Pasha Baban who named it after his father Sulaiman Pasha.
From its foundation Sulaymaniyah was always a center of great poets, writers, historians, politicians, scholars and singers, such as Nalî, Mahwi, and Piramerd.
The city is known as the capital of enlightenment among the Kurds, but the official nickname of the city on national level is: Sulaimaniyah is the Paris of Iraq or the bride of Iraq's cities.
Sulaymaniyah is considered the center of the Sorani Kurdish culture in Kurdistan. It is recognized officially as the cultural capital of South Kurdistan.
Development of Sorani as a modern literary language started in this city in the early 19th century, when many Kurdish poets such as Nalî, Piramerd, Muhamed Amin Zaki, Abdulla Goran, Muhamad Salih Dilan, Ahmad Hardi, Ibrahim Ahmad, Nuri Sheikh Salih Sheikh Ghani Barzinji, Sherko Bekas, and Bachtyar Ali published their works.
The city is known for its open, relatively liberal and tolerant society when compared to other cities of Kurdistan. The city has a Chinatown as a result of attracting foreign investment. Around 500 Chinese people reside in the city.
In 2006 the Movement for Change started in Sulaymaniyah and challenged what it called the corrupt and nepotistic Kurdish Government. The movement gained massive support from the city.
The two independent newspapers Hawlati and Awena and the two independent political magazines Lvin and Shock, are published and distributed in Sulaymaniyah city.
Sulaymaniyah is the only city in South Kurdistan that regularly celebrates world music day or FEte de la Musique.
Culture is hugely important to the Kurdish people, especially in Sulaymaniyah, but there is a strong pull to the west, modernisation and consumerism driven perhaps by the satellite televisions they have had access to since they started running their own affairs.
And at the university, students mill around the campus, chattering with each other and doing some last minute cramming for their exams. The war only stopped lectures for a few weeks. There are probably more women than men and they are happy to air their views to anyone who asks.
Since 2003 Iraq has seen a huge economic boom. Sulaymaniyah's economy today relies on tourism, agriculture and a number of small factories, most of which are involved in the building trade.
In 2004 the Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis in Iraq released an in-depth survey of the Sulaymaniyah Governorate in which they surveyed each city. In this survey one can see the economic boom of 2003 mentioned earlier.
The city was visited by more than 60,000 tourists in 2009. Sulaymaniyah attracted more than 15,000 Iranian tourists in the first quarter of 2010, many drawn by the fact it is not subject to strict laws faced at home.
Newroz 2010 drew an exodus of Iranian tourists choosing to celebrate the event in the region.
Sulaimani Museum: It is the second biggest museum after the national museum in Baghdad. It is home to many Kurdish and ancient Persian artifacts dating back to 1792–1750 BC.
In 1820, only 26 years after the creation of the city, a British man named Rech visited the city and estimated that its population was more than ten thousand, containing 2,144 families of which 2,000 were Muslim, 130 Jewish, and 14 Christian.
Ottoman documents from 1907 suggest that there were 8,702 Muslim and 360 non-Muslim residents living in the city at that time.
The Peshkawtin newspaper which was distributed in Sulaymaniyah in 1920 estimated its population to be around ten thousand.
According to Iraqi government documents, by 1947 the number of residents had increased to 23,475; by 1998 to 548,747, and in 2015 to 656,100
There is an international Sulaimaniya Airport near Bakrajo, with direct flights from Dusseldorf-Germany, Dubai-UAE, Amman-Jordan, and Istanbul-Turkey. There are many services per day and people from all over the world come to enjoy the most beautiful nature in Kurdistan
For a spectacular bird's eye view of Sulaimaniya or Suly in short, travel to the surrounding mountains of Goizha, Azmar, Piramagrwn and Baranan. The city is in the phase of transition from a usual city to a tourism city in every sense of the term.
Amna Suraka or Red Security: The highlight of any trip to Sulaimaniya ought to be this museum, housed in one of Saddam's old torture facilities known as Amna Suraka or Red Security.
Since the Peshmerga or Kurdish army liberated the prison in the 1990s, not much has changed, the buildings are empty shells with bullet holes everywhere.
Great Mosque In the middle of the bazaar district is Sulaimaniya's great mosque. Not really an architectural wonder, or even very old, this is nevertheless a sort of hub, especially on Fridays.
It is possible to go inside if you visit after prayers have finished, however you can go inside the brand new Chinese shopping mall opposite Kaso Mall, offering good views over the mosque from the upper floors.
Possibly the only place in the world where you'll see Iraqi, Kurdish and Chinese flags decorating a doorway. Public Park or Baxi Gshty. The closest to the center of the city, it is a small one on Salm Street, almost opposite the Palace Hotel.
This one is busy in the morning with tea drinkers, and has an avenue of heads, stone busts of some important local historical figures.
Sulaimaniya museum Suly is a city in the midst of a tumultuous rebirth, so you may be pleased to see that it has a Museum, full of local treasures. Short walk on Salim Street from the Sulaimani Palace Hotel.
Azmar Mountain Sulaimaniya is surrounded by high mountains. The mountain from the north just closest to Chavy Land is a very popular picnic site.
On the weekend, many Kurdish families drive their cars to the mountain to eat kebab and enjoy the wonderful view of city. At night many people travel to the top of the mountain and take pictures as mementos of the unbelievable view of the city in the night.
Sara Square Suly has a local Bazaar where you can buy almost everything you need. The city is well known for this square, with its big portrait of Shex Mahmood Nemir. Many people go there to sit, read books and chat. Sarchinar resort is about 5 km from the west of Sulaymaniyah city.
This is a magnificent resort covered with trees and features a freshwater fountain. This resort includes a modern and comfortable restaurant, kids' club, swimming pool and a zoo. It should be noted that Nawroz and Jekjek resorts are located in the same area.
You can spend your time walking on the streets day or night, with very comfortable temperatures between 0-35C most days of the year.
One can have a good time in Public Park the closest to the center of the city, it is a small one on Salm Street, almost opposite the Palace Hotel.
This one is busy in the morning with tea drinkers, and has an avenue of heads, stone busts of some important local historical figures. or Mother Park or Baxi Daik north east of the bazaar, small but new and well designed, with a large statue of a woman as its centerpiece.
Azadi Park, it is somehow similar to the large park in Erbil. Azadi Park has the grave and legacy of the most brilliant and well known Kurdish poet Sherko Bekas the father of modern Kurdish poetry.
It does have the obligatory enormous Kurdish flag fluttering above an abstract monument to something or other. The Bazaar Take any street off Mawlawi or Kawa streets and you'll end up in the bazaar.
It is huge, and getting lost is part of the fun. The most interesting section is probably the maze of covered alleyways between the two main roads. The bazaar is built on a bit of a slope, so don't be afraid to go up or down any stairs you may come across. They just lead to more levels full of shops
There is a bowling center,speed center and many other places to go.
The Zara supermarket to the East end of Salm Street, where the gate to the bazaar area is, and then 300 meters North, uphill. Or go to Southeast corner of Azadi park. In either case, look for a large silver dome on top of its building.
It has appointed itself as the source for Western products. They don't have much, but they are more likely to have something else than other stores.
Amazon shop , at bazzar Mawlawy you an shop for cosmetics. There is also an oriental mall in the centre of town in an area dedicated to koreans for their support
There are different types of amazing kurdish dishes. One of the most famous dishes is Yaprax, which you may not find easily in city restaurants, but in some restaurants you can find Kofta which also tastes great.
You can go to Sara Restaurant near Xasraw xal bridge, where you can find Kebab, Goshty brzhaw or grilled meat, Brnj rice shla and other types of food. Sara Restaurant is very good and clean. If you're looking for more international dishes you can have Pizza and Italian food at Roma restaurant at Tooy Malik.
There are two kinds of places to eat in the old part of the city: sit down places and sandwich type places. There are tons of sandwich type places. They cost about 1,000 dinars for a sandwich of chicken, meat, or falafel on a little white bun or else wrapped up in a flatbread. 1,000 dinars is roughly equal to a dollar or a euro.
In a sit down place, you can typically get rice, baked beans, some chicken and clear chicken soup with flat bread. In such a place you also pay about 1,000 dinars for each item so you end up paying like 3,000-4,000 dinars for your meal in such a place.
There are also pizza places and juice places where you can get delicious fruit juices, for less than a dollar. I don't know how much pizza costs but it's probably 1,000 dinars.
Coffee is not big in Sulaymaniyah, and tea is generally a better bet. As with anything here, there are many shops with basically the same selection. The local taste is for instant coffee, and the coffee section of a grocery store will be dominated by MacCoffee and Nescafe.
Coffee beans generally come only as little bricks of Turkish coffee, 200 grams roasted dark and ground fine. If you don't want 1/4 cardamom, check the package to make sure it says 100% coffee.
Pasha's coffee, In the bazaar area, Walk through the gate opposite the Palace Hotel, and straight up the street to the first circle with the booksellers, go around them, and take the shallow right and look for Pasha's on the left. One of the only places in town with proper coffee.
They have a sign in Latin characters, and there is usually a crowd of coffee drinkers out front. You can get good espresso from the machine and they have bulk coffee, 28 000 for a kilo of Columbian beans and coffee makers in styles unavailable elsewhere.
Sulaymani Palace. For now, this is the best hotel in town, although it is by no means up to international standards. Nevertheless, it's a decent enough experience. It is however the best hotel you could get in the city. 100 USD.
Ramada Hotel Sulaymaniyah is a comfortable international hotel, not quite up to the highest international standards but it's still nice and clean and the food is pretty good. 100 USD.
Dolphin Hotel. No breakfast but very fast internet. Rooms are clean and nice. Right next to the old mosque in the very scenic old part of town. in the innermost center of the city, in the bazaar that you can get whatever in any time. 40 USD.