Iraq is unfortunately mired into one conflict after the other and at present is not safe to visit this extraordinary nation. This Western Asia country is bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. When the conflicts hopefully resolve in the future, do visit this glorious land with a magnificent bird-life, glittering oasis, turquoise rivers, fertile valleys, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and beautiful cityscapes.
When in Iraq, be sure to visit its capital - Baghdad. Be sure to visit the Al-Faw Palace, also referred to as the Water Palace for its location alongside the Tigris River. It is utilized as a military base for US Troops. Animal lovers can spend some time at the Baghdad Zoo - the biggest in the country, opened in 1971. Today, it houses about 1070 animals. Be sure to visit the National Museum of Iraq - encompassing the history of Mesopotamian culture. Drop by at the Umm al-Qura Mosque - built to celebrate the 'victory' in the 1991 Gulf War. The minarets bear the shape of barrels of guns and SCUD missiles.
The spiritual home of Shi'ia Muslims is Karbala, 100km south of Baghdad. Marvel at the remarkable mosque housing the shrine of Hussein. Wander about the monuments that are amongst the best in the Islamic world. The ancient Sumerian city of Ur is one of the most incredible archaeological sites in Iraq, with its earliest building dating as far back as to around 21st century BC. Archaeological excavations have showcased the remains of the Great Ziggurat, one of the most amazing structures of the ancient world.
Drive down a hour south of Baghdad to reach the historical site of Babylon and its iconic Hanging Gardens. Dating as far back as 2300 BC, Babylon was a political and religious hub over numerous successive empires. Basra is aptly nicknamed as the 'Venice of the East', the metropolis is lined with canals. There are classy and elegant 19th-century homes perched alongside. Do catch a glimpse of the mesmerizing and majestic Kurdish mountains. They are beautiful to look at. In the new Korek Mountain Resort, its possible to go skiing.
When it comes to shopping, be on the look-out for souvenirs such as copper-ware, silver, spices, carpets and brightly coloured rugs. As for cuisine, it would be a shame to not dig into some of their local delicacies. Some of them are: Dolma (Vine leaves, cabbage, lettuce, onions, aubergine, marrow or cucumbers stuffed with rice, meat and spices) and Gauss (Grilled-meat wrap).
The stay options in Iraq are abundant with the best luxury hotels, cheap accommodations and rental apartments available for tourists to decide which kind to opt for depending on their budget and taste.
Iraq experiences hot arid climate with subtropical influence. The best time to visit Iraq is April / May and October / November when the temperature are conducive for travelling and sight-seeing.