Introduction

The media often describes the Republic of Iraq (Mesopotamia) as a place where humanity is most ugly. It is a place of violence and chaos for many who fail to remember that humanity was once at peace on this side of the world. In the past years, there has been a decrease in the level of violence within the country. However, it remains to be highly dangerous with high threats of terrorism.

The invasion within the Iraqi territories has had negative impacts to the country. Civil violence has increased due to complications between beliefs, tradition and religion. Iraq is rich in oil and other minerals that have not been productive due to the country's continued battle for peace.

With the current conditions in Iraq, it will be difficult for people to find places to go and visit. In fact, tourists are currently not welcome given the underlying conditions of the country. The primary things that visitors to Iraq consider are safety and security. Because Iraq is considered as unsafe and dangerous, most foreigners hire personal security teams for their protection. People travel around the place riding in armored cars.

People

The ancient Iraqis had a common liking for festivities and a peaceful and simple life. Iraqis are generally hospitable, brave and courageous. Iraqis stand on what they believe is right, even during life and death situations. Most Iraqis are humble and religious. They have firm faith and understanding of their beliefs.

The majority of Iraqis are Muslims who share the same belief in the teachings of the Koran. The war in Iraq has meant huge costs not only on properties, but on the lives of the people concerned. With the deaths of young soldiers for the continued clamor for independence and peace, most Iraqis have become rebellious in the process.

Geography

The lands of Iraq are composed of deserts, plateaus, highlands, plains and gulfs. The topography of this country is complex with several terrains and waterways. It is totally landlocked by countries such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait and Syria.

Iraq is divided into four main regions, namely the deserts in the west and southwest, the uplands and the highlands in the north and northeast. The total land area of the country totals to 169,234 square miles.

Its main cities are Bagdad, Mosul, Basrah, Irbil, and Kirkuk.

History

In the ancient times, Iraq was known as Mesopotamia. This region comprised the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Mesopotamia was the first center of civilization. The ancient people of Iraq were the Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians and Chaldeans who were the first to establish empires inside the country.

During 539 BC, Mesopotamia was conquered by the Persian Empire. The rest of the history of the country was spent under the domination of several civilizations, which has also resulted in the multicultural influences on the people of Iraq.

Upon the resignation of President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr and the installation of the new president Saddam Hussein, Iraq came under the power of a de facto ruler for many years until he formally came to power. Territorial disputes between Iran and Iraq led to an eight-year war between the two Muslim countries. The 9/11 incident in the US led to the continuous war in Iraq that has brought much damage to the people and land of Iraq.

Famous Attractions

Iraq, a once peaceful Muslim country is filled with many interesting places. Some of these include the Kadhimimain Mosque located in Baghdad, the Abbasid Palace, a remnant built in the 13th century, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the Arch of Ctesiphon, which are the only remains left of the third century BC. Due to unfortunate incidents, some of these attractions have been ruined and endangered subsequent to the war between Iraq and the US.

Most people in Iraq choose to stay within the green zone where it is considered safe. Exploring Iraq's many cultural sites can be best done during the day. The country is striving hard to rebuild and restore cultural sites which were ruined during the riots and bombings. In the coming years, locals plan to build new attractions and build a fresh economy for the struggling country.

Nightlife

Iraq offers many places of entertainment for many visitors of the country. There are night clubs, disco halls and 5-star hotels that have restaurants, cafes and pubs for tourists and locals alike.

Tourists spend a night of drinking, eating, and nights of relaxation in many of the country's restaurants and cafes. Inside the "green zone" or safe zones, there are places where tourists and locals get to enjoy the night. Other bars are only open to employees and some private people, although there are those that are open to the public. While there are places open for everyone, most of them are not safe especially during the night.

Culture

The beliefs, cultures and traditions of the country are based on its dominant religion which is Islam. Ninety-seven percent of the population of Iraq is Muslim. Even the government and laws of the country are mostly based on religious foundations. Three-fourths of the Iraqi population is Arab, while the rest are divided into a combination of Kurds, Turkomans, Persians, Chaldeans, Jezira Bedouin, Assyrians and Yezidis. The majority of the people of Iraq live in most of its cities despite the continued war and violence inside the country. Twenty-six percent of the population lives outside the country.

Cuisine

The Iraqi cuisine is a combination of influences from a variety of cultures including the western and eastern cultures that have evolved during the past hundred years. Some influences on the Iraqi cooking styles include Italian, Chinese, Turkish, Lebanese and Iranian. This is because of the large scale migrations and Muslim invasions to the country throughout Iraq's history.

The main ingredients of the usual Iraqi cuisine are lamb, beef and chicken. The majority of Iraqis do not eat pork, which is greatly due to an influence of Islam. Most of the Iraqi cuisine includes vegetables, beans, meat and fish mixed with rice, okra, tomatoes, onions or raisins. One of Iraq's national foods is the dolma, which is made from vine leaves, lettuce, cabbage, onions, aubergine and marrow that is stuffed with meat, rice and other spices.