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Adventures in Kurdistan: The Other Iraq

Original post: Another World Adventures

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It’s a sad state of affairs but it’s most likely you’ll have heard of the Kurds in recent months in light of the crisis with ISIS. What you may not have picked up from the news reports you’ve read is that the problems mostly take place outside the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and few people realise that Kurdistan is in fact one of the safest and most secure regions in the Middle East and that the options for adventures in Kurdistan are abundant.

At Another World Adventures we’re always interested in unusual destinations – the lands that are misunderstood, poorly reported and under visited. At first thought seeking out adventures in Kurdistan may seem like a strange way to use your time off but we hope that you’ll re-think what you know and take the time to discover the real story of this fascinating land.

Perhaps you’ll join the many thousands who visit Kurdistan every year and discover a place that’s very different to what they’d imagined. If you’re really into unusual destinations and personal challenges you might like to join a small team of adventure seekers who’ll be among the few to trek the remote Zagros Mountains in April 2016 (more info below).

As one group put it – “Kurdistan is completely unlike the rest of chaotic Iraq, which is why many refer to Kurdistan as The Other Iraq”.

Kurdistan is a place where rivers, lakes and snow covered mountains dot the land and a vast number of historical and archeological sites are waiting to be explored. Visitors returning from a trip always report that the Kurdish people they met are a warm and friendly people with open hospitality.

Some things we bet you didn’t know about Kurdistan:

  • Kurdistan is in midst of the Cradle of Civilization where there are more archaeological and historical sites than any other region in the world.
  • The capital Erbil is over 8000 years old and is the oldest continuously inhabited city on earth.
  • The Kurds descended from an ancient biblical people, the Medes. The many Jewish sites, mosques, Christian churches, ancient monasteries as well as Yezidi temples has earned Kurdistan the designation, “The Other Holy Land”
  • Many of the world’s flowers such as Tulips and Daffodils originated in Kurdistan and there are numerous species of flowers and fauna found nowhere else on earth.
  • Kurdistan hosts one of the longest cable cars (teleferics) in the world built by an Austrian company, which takes you to the Korek Mountain Ski Resort. Many of the peaks of Kurdistan are covered with snow year around.
  • Many of the world’s great hoteliers have or are building five star properties in Kurdistan; Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott, Rotana, Kempinski, Divan & Ramada to name a few.
  • Kurdistan while quaintly Middle Eastern is also a liberal multi ethnic and religiously diverse land where law protects minority rights and over 30% of the seats of parliament are reserved for women.
  • Kurdistan has roughly one fourth of Iraq’s oil reserves and is fast becoming one of the richest regions in the Middle East.

If you’re interested in having some unforgettable adventures then how about visiting as part of an expedition team which is heading to the Zagros Mountains in April 2016 and trek the secret peaks with a like-minded group of adventure seekers.

This is a real expedition, not a tour, and not for the feint hearted as the aim of the expedition is to trek in the majestic Zagros Mountains of Kurdistan, Northern Iraq and to climb Mount Halgurd (3,607m). This is the highest climbable mountain that lies wholly within Iraq.

The mountain does not require any technical experience but you need to be in good shape. The skills you’ll need on the mountain will be taught on the lower slopes by professional guides such as the use of an ice axe and crampons.

The deadline to sign up to the expedition team is January 19th 2016 so don’t delay. You can find out more about this adventure trip here.

The Secret Peaks of Iraq

Dates:April 2 – 10th, 2016
Length: 9 days
Price:£1,499 (land only)

**Deadline to sign up: Jan 19th 2016**

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