Iraq is a country in the Middle East, notorious for the war that took place there in the fairly recent past. Although the war officially ended in late 2011, the country still has a very volatile political situation. The area of Kurdistan is relatively safe when compared with other parts of the country, so would you travel to Iraq now?
The country is known to have been the home of many of the world’s earliest civilizations, and there are numerous fascinating ruins all over Iraq, as well as stunning religious buildings and beautiful natural areas. Iraq is a country that is steeped in a long and varied history and a very rich culture.
Here is some Iraq information that may help you to decide:
Instability in Iraq
Most of the country is still in a state of extreme political instability. Most foreign embassies strongly advise against visiting the country, with many dangers being a very real possibility. Travelling in Iraq is still very risky indeed. Visitors could be kidnapped, killed, and victims of general violence. Violent disturbances can happen at any time and in any place, and acts of terrorism are far from uncommon. The only part of the country that is deemed anywhere near being safe for foreign visitors is the region of Kurdistan, and even here one needs to tread very carefully and be aware at all times of their personal safety. There has been no foreign military in the country since 2012.
Instability in the Middle East
Iraq shares borders with Iran, Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. With instability in this area very common, Iraq is at the heart of a fairly trouble-stricken part of the world. Syria has been particularly volatile lately.
Tourist Visas for Iraq
It is not possible for tourists to obtain a visa to visit Iraq other than for the region of Kurdistan. To be able to enter other parts of the country, therefore, one would need to obtain a different type of visa, which would be not only be very difficult to obtain, but would also be very questionable given the current state of the country.
The temperatures in Iraq are often very extreme. The summers are long, dry, and very hot, with temperatures often reaching as high as 40 degrees Celsius. The winter months provide little respite, with the average temperature being around 16 degrees in the daytime, with night time temperatures often falling to below freezing.
People should avoid wandering away from marked paths, especially in rural areas, due to the high risk of unexploded ordinance that lies beneath the earth’s surface. There are areas that were quite heavily mined, and there is a very real risk of fatal explosions.
Visitors need Escorts
Whilst it is not a legal requirement, it is almost essential for visitors to Iraq to have armed guards and escorts to maintain their safety. There are various agencies in operation to provide these services, though they usually deal with those who are in the country for business purposes or on a religious pilgrimage.
Tap water is not drinkable. Food hygiene standards are also lower than in many other countries, and visitors can become very ill very quickly.
Still thinking about visiting Iraq now?