Sulaimaniyah is the second largest city in Iraqi Kurdistan, which is autonomous from the rest of Iraq.
It’s a fantastic place to experience Kurdish culture and history. Haggle for handmade crafts in the bazaar, pick up world-renowned Kurdish art in local galleries and learn about Sulaimaniyah's ancient and more recent past in its groundbreaking museums.
Sulaimaniyah is also a good base for a day trip to the city of Erbil.
Top things to see and do
- See Mesopotamian artefacts and treasures including a Greek statue of Hercules and a coffin containing the skeleton of a 6000-year-old woman at the Sulaimaniyah Museum.
- Enjoy a lamb kebab while hunting for handmade carpets, jewellery, clothes and more among the winding alleyways of the Grand Bazaar.
- Admire and buy Kurdish art from the pioneering Zamwa Gallery, run by the renowned Kurdish painter and photographer Rostam Aghala.
- Visit the harrowing confines of the Amna Suraka (Red Security), the regional headquarters of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Intelligence Service until the Kurdish uprising of 1991. Now, you can get a free guided tour of the former prison cells, some of which contain disturbing but powerful exhibits.
- Take tea with the locals in the pleasant green surroundings of the Municipal Park, next to the University of Sulaimaniyah.
Tips for travellers
Travel 96km northwest of Sulaimaniyah to visit the citadel of Erbil. At over 8000 years old, it is the world’s oldest continuously inhabited settlement. Step back in time among the abandoned streets, mud-brick houses, baths and mosques.