Tourism in Iraq refers to tourism in the Western Asian country Iraq. Iraq was one of the main destinations for many years, however it changed dramatically due to conflicts. The tourism in Iraq has faced many challenges, however, in recent years there has been improvements. The capital city Baghdad is the second largest city in the Arab world and the 4th largest in the Middle East. Iraq has several World Heritage Sites, dating back to ancient Mesopotamia, most notably Babylon Iraq. Iraq is considered to be a potential location for ecotourism. Erbil was chosen as "Arab Tourism Capital" in 2014 by the Arab Tourism Committee.
|Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat)||IrqSaladin Governorate||Cultural:
|70 (170)||2003||Located on the Tigris and dating from the 3rd millennium BCE, Ashur was the first capital of the Assyrian Empire and the religious centre of the Assyrians. Following its destruction by the Babylonians, the city was briefly revived during the Parthian period.|
|Erbil Citadel||IrqErbil Governorate||Cultural:
|16 (40)||2014||Situated on the top of a tell in Iraqi Kurdistan and overlooking the city of Erbil, the Erbil Citadel constitutes a typical example of Ottoman-era urban-planning. In addition to its 19th century fortifications, the site also contains remains dating back to the Assyrian period.|
|324 (800)||1985||The fortified Parthian city of Hatra withstood repeated attacks by the Roman Empire in the 2nd century. Its architecture reflects both Hellenistic and Roman influences.|
|Samarra Archaeological City||IrqSaladin Governorate||Cultural:
|15,058 (37,210)||2007||Located on the Tigris, the Islamic city of Samarra was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. It contains two of the largest mosques and several of the largest palaces in the Islamic world, in addition to being among the finest example of Abbasid-era town-planning.|
|The Ahwar of Southern Iraq: Refuge of Biodiversity and the Relict Landscape of the Mesopotamian Cities||Irq||Mixed:
|211,544 (522,740)||2016||Located in southern Iraq, the site contains three cities of Sumerian origin, namely Uruk, Ur and Eridu, in addition to four wetland areas in the Iraqi Marshlands.|
|1,054.3 (2,605)||2019||A former capital of Hammurabi, Babylon grew to become the largest settlement in ancient Mesopotamia during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II.|
Additionally, Iraq has sites on the tentative list of UNESCO. The tentative list includes Ur, Nimrud, The Ancient City of Nineveh, The Fortress of Al-Ukhaidar, Wasit, Babylon, The Marshlands of Mesopotamia, The Site of Thilkifl, Wadi Al-Salam Cemetery in Najaf, Amedy city, Historical Features of the Tigris River in Baghdad Rusafa. In addition to these sites, there are must-see places to visit in person in Iraq, like the Iraqi Plastic Society which houses numerous art work demonstrating traditional as well as innovative styles of design.
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq and the second-largest city in the Arab world. It is located along the Tigris near the ruins of the ancient Akkadian city of Babylon and the Sassanid Persian capital of Ctesiphon. In the eighth century, Baghdad was chosen as the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, and became its most notable major development project
Religious tourism is the most popular type of tourism in Iraq, with tens of millions of tourists from several countries visiting Holy cities and places in Iraq every year. These include:
The number of tourist arrivals in Iraq in 2013 was 892,000. In the last two decades the highest number of tourists came in 2010 with 1,518,000 tourists. In 2012, the value of international tourism receipt was $1.64 billion. Iraqi Kurdistan, an autonomous region of Iraq, was a hotspot for tourism. It was considered to be a safe and stable region and least affected by terrorism. In 2012, Kurdistan recorded a 70% rise in tourist arrivals. In 2007 Kurdistan had 106 hotels which increased to 405 in 2012 in addition to 214 motels and 50 tourist villages. Erbil city in Kurdistan which was declared as "Arab Tourism Capital" in 2014. However, as of 2015, activities of the militant group ISIS have affected tourism in Kurdistan. According to the association of hotels, tourism in Kurdistan is going through a crisis. The Governor of Erbil said that the financial crisis of Iraq and the war against ISIS have affected all sectors of the economy including tourism.
Najaf and Karbala are considered a thriving tourist destination for Shia Muslims and the tourism industry in the city boomed after the end of Saddam Hussein's rule. However, due to the US sanctions on Iran, the number of Iranian tourists dropped significantly.