Iraq is once again opening its borders to international tourists in search of discovery. And they are taking back pleasant memories of this land with its thousand-year-old history.
The Ishtar Gate, a huge blue brick building in the heart of the archaeological site of Babylon, embodies the country’s openness to the rest of the world since American and European tourists have been posing beside it for souvenir photos. Despite a reputation that precedes the country, many visitors have recently been coming to Iraq to discover a 4,000 year old history that rivals those of Egypt or Jordan.
Tourists pleasantly surprised, a reputation erased
Some tourists confess to being dazzled by Iraq. I. Ovalle, a true globetrotter from California who has traveled to some 40 countries, shared her enthusiasm for this cradle of civilization as she joined a tour group. “Iraq is now in my top three travel destinations,” she said.
”What struck me was the warmth and generosity of the Iraqis. They welcome you with a smile, they are proud of their country”
Rebuilding to better welcome
For almost a year, the Iraqi government has been issuing visas again, which has led to this small tourism boom. In 2021, more than 107,000 tourists visited Iraq from France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Norway, compared with only 30,000 in 2020, i.e. 3.5 times more, according to figures from the Iraqi Tourism Authority.
While the presence of these many tourists shows that it is no longer as risky to visit Iraq, the government aims to develop its infrastructure, renovate a large number of historical sites and open new museums in order to make the tourism sector an economic and cultural asset of the country.
What to visit in Iraq?
So if you are tempted by the idea, there are several must-see sites to visit in the country. Why not visit the National Museum in Baghdad, which has just reopened after a three-year closure. Also in the capital, the mythical street of the bookshops has also hosted several artistic and cultural events last December and January. In addition, Ur, the birthplace of the biblical figure of Abraham, attracts visitors who are passionate about ancient and religious history. In addition, the country has the challenge of putting its resources to the advantage of a rich heritage that definitely seduces its tourists.
If you are tempted by the adventure, several trips are organized by travel agencies throughout the year.