GLOBAL VILLAGE – KURDISTAN UNESCO & PESHMERGA TOUR (OCTOBER 2017)
Kurdistan is a prospective new nation protected by the Peshmerga, an oasis of safety despite being at the forefront of the fight against ISIS. Middle Eastern literature speaks of it as a paradise on earth, with breath-taking scenery and more than 3,500 archaeological sites, as well as some of the most friendly and welcoming people on
We begin our journey in Erbil, the capital of this unique region. We will travel to the world’s only Yazidi shrine at Lelesh, see the Peshmerga frontline against ISIS, visit Sadam Hussein’s palace at Amadiya, cruise along Hamilton Road, pay our respects at the scene of a mass chemical attack, explore the touristic Sulaymaniyah, drive through the former front line of Kirkuk and much, much more before circling back to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Erbil. This is a region with a fascinating history,
and of utmost importance in current events. Join us on our trip to Kurdistan and witness history unfolding in real time.
- Local guide
- All transport to complete itinerary
- All accommodation (Twin/triple share)
- Tips for local guides and drivers
- Personal expenses
- Single supplement
- Food – average €20 a day
|At a glance:
|| Duhok > Rawandas > Sulaymaniyah > Halabja > Erbil 6 nights, 7 days
Monday 16th October
- Early morning departure to Erbil, Iraq via Istanbul.
- We spend the afternoon in one the world’s finest cities before boarding our connecting flight to Kurdistan.
- We are met at the airport by your local guide and driver before we are transported to the T Hotel located in the centre of the Christian District of Erbil (which also means alcohol is widely available).
- In the evening we head for the welcome dinner, orientation, and drinks at our hotel, where we will review the itinerary.
- Overnight in Erbil.
Tuesday 17th October
- We begin the day nice and early for the 2-hour drive to Lalesh. This is the most sacred town for the Yazidi people and is extremely interesting. We will get a chance here to have some photos holding AK’s with the soldiers of the Peshmerga.
- We then head to the Khanis archaeological site where it is also possible to drop down into our shorts and have a swim in the fresh water.
- Our next stop is at one of the worlds oldest churches built into the mountains in Algosh. Algosh is technically part of Mosul and Iraq “proper” and from the mountainside church, we will be able to see the Peshmerga front line against ISIS.
- We head for lunch and a few beers in Algosh as luckily it is a Christian town.
- Following our slow late lunch, we drive onwards to Duhok, which is a pleasant old town for our overnight.
- Walking city tour, dinner and overnight in Duhok.
Wednesday 18th October
- In the morning we head to Amadiya, home to one of Saddam Hussein’s former mountaintop palaces and is truly an amazing sight. We spend a few hours exploring and admiring the breathtaking views.
- We head to a locally famous cave restaurant for a traditional lunch.
- Following lunch, we embark on one of our longer journeys, the 4-hour drive to Rawandas. Stopping along the way for pictures at the Shamarda cave as well as for refreshments.
- Walking tour of Rawandas before we head for dinner and drinks.
- Overnight in Rawandas.
Thursday 19th October
- Drive the famously scenic Hamilton road. The road was built by AM Hamilton in the early 1930s for what he hoped would unify the peoples of the region well, in fact, the road has been fought over many times, especially during the war with Iran.
- We continue our journey stopping at various waterfalls and mountains for pictures before getting on the only mountain cable car in the region for breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery.
- Lunch at a countryside restaurant.
- We take another scenic drive of around 3.5 hours to the second major city of Iraqi Kurdistan and the most important regarding tourism, Sulaymaniyah. We will be stopping along the way for refreshments and picture opportunities.
- In the evening we take a walk around this historical city before heading into the Christian quarter for dinner and drinks.
- Overnight in Sulaymaniyah.
Friday 20th October
- We take the 1-hour drive to Halabja. Halabja was the scene of the mass chemical attack on the Kurdish people perpetrated by the Baathist regime. Here we will look at the various shrines to the scene of this atrocity as well as visit a local museum.
- We head to Tawela, the last village in Iraq next to the Iran border and previously the front line in the Iran/Iraq war. There is also a beautiful waterfall here that we will visit for some relaxation.
- Lunch by the border.
- We head back to Sulaymaniyah for some leisurely time at Azadi park and bowling centre.
- Overnight in Sulaymaniyah.
Saturday 21st October
- Free morning to explore Sulaymaniyah.
- We again hit the road, this time back to Erbil, but instead of taking the short cut we head via recently liberated Kirkuk. We will not stop in the town proper, but will instead do a driving tour of the city.
- Lunch in a village around Kirkuk.
- We then complete the scenic 2-hour drive back to Erbil, again stopping for refreshments and photos along the way.
- We head to the Citadel for sunset, which although it has seen better days is still worth a look. We then head into the bazaar where your local guide will help you find some last minute bargains.
- We have a farewell dinner near the bazaar.
- It is fair to say you do not know a country until you have done a pub crawl, so we finish our time in Iraqi Kurdistan in true style by seeing it off with a few well-earned drinks.
- Overnight in Erbil.
Sunday 22nd October
- End of tour, we can either arrange additional accommodation, or transport to the airport.
- Iran group flies from Erbil to Tehran