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Historical Sites That Pull Travellers to Iraq

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I have a colleague i met at Henderson Indoor cycling, he visited iraq back in 2002 he told me that be honest here. When you hear of Iraq, you think of running battles between the long-nosed rebels and the government forces, or the rebels fighting amongst themselves to gain control of some dusty, worn-out old town. You hear gunshots, you hear children with gun wounds crying, clinging to their equally helpless mothers as they run to hide inside a mosque which will be bombed shortly.

To crown it all, you visualize yourself kneeling with your hands bound on your back, blindfolded and surrounded by about ten rebels who recite some religious verses before chopping off your head before the camera, somewhere in the hot desert. Your pleas have fallen on deaf ears. The vultures are patiently waiting on the nearby leafless shrubs, as the blunt knife is slowly seesawed across your throat. It is deliberately made blunt to maximize your pain. Welcome home.

Yes, home. You see, all the major religions, secular historical facts and archeology point Mesopotamia as the Cradle of Civilization. It is in Mesopotamia that writing, theology, law, medicine, science, and literature took root. The ruins of Mesopotamia are in the modern day Iraq.

Euphrates and Tigris rivers, which ran through the Garden of Eden (according to the book of Genesis), are in Iraq. Euphrates river is about 50 miles south of Baghdad.

But East or West, home is best. Iraq is home. To rediscover your roots, it is only fair you return home. Fortunately, Iraq is finally rising from the ashes, after years of bloodshed. Traveling to Iraq is no longer a matter of life and death. Iraq is covered in natural beauty and has many historical attractions for religious or secular sojourners. There is so much than just army boots. Isn’t it fun traveling from one city to another, with deserts between and nothing else except dust? It brings out the feeling of adventure. Much of Iraq is still undiscovered and is ripe for exploration.

Again, traveling in and out Iraq is in itself a claim to fame. When people are proudly counting the places they have visited, you can casually say, after everyone else has spoken, “Well, I was in Iraq the other day. It is cool. So much positive developments are taking place.” If in amazement they scream, “What? You went to Iraq?” you casually ask, “You people haven’t been to Iraq?”

Believe it or not, you will be the center of attraction and the discussion for the rest of the day.

The people of Iraq are generally friendly, contrary to popular opinion. Anyone you approach is warm and happy to help. That is surprising. If you are an English speaker, an average Iraqi will gladly use the opportunity with you to practice and perfect his English.

The following are some of the significant historical sites that should drive you to Iraq one of these fine days:

Babylon

On the western bank of the Euphrates River lie the ruins of Babylon the great city. Once upon a time, Babylon was the world’s superpower. But before Babylon, there was the Tower of Babel, the tallest skyscraper of those times. Built soon after the worldwide flood, many biblical commentators believe the Tower of Babel was erected in anticipation of another high-water surge. However, the biblical God confounded their plans and took the opportunity to disperse them throughout the planet. The best architects the world could produce, it is written, could suddenly not understand one another due to the language barrier and so the heaven-ward building had to stop.

Babylon city was later built around the Tower of Babel in the days of Nebuchadnezzar and later Alexander the Great. The hanging gardens of the Tower of Babel continue to be amongst the Seven Wonders of the world. During the Iraq War, the site of Babylon city underwent considerable destruction but the U.S State Department later granted funds for its renovation. Much archeological excavation has resumed finding more hidden facts about this great city that the Jewish prophets said so much about.

Whether you are religious or not, you should visit this location to witness where it all started personally.

Ur of the Chaldeans

According to Genesis, Abraham the father of Judaism was dwelling in Ur among his fellow Chaldeans when God first talked to him. Ur is near Babylon. Archeological findings have found its earliest buildings to date back as far as 400 B.C.

Jews, Muslims, and Christians revere the site. For three dynasties, it was the capital of Sumeria. In 1929, the tombs of Sumerian kings were discovered here, and they are now well-preserved for tourism attraction.

Shrine of The Two Sons Of Muslim Ibn Aqeel

Located in Almosayab area near Babel road on the way to Baghdad city, the monument is revered by Muslims. Mohammed & Ebrahim, two young sons of Muslim Bin Aqeel, were killed and buried here. The unhappy history of these unfortunate brothers has inspired pilgrimages to this calm site. Heart-wrenching prayers are offered by the many visitors who come here. It is a vivid reminder of the of Imam Hussein (PBUH) and those who stood by him in his fight for righteousness.

Conclusion

Once you have made up your mind to visit Iraq, you should consult your embassy first. There is always some war erupting in certain parts of Iraq so check the news. If you travel without doing much research and you later get kidnapped, blame yourself.

However, the northern provinces of Irag and most of Kurdistan are safe. Areas like Basra, Najaf, and Karbala are relatively safe to travel by foreigners. Also, note that the Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Iraq.

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