Iraq is a country which boasts of one of the oldest civilizations of the world. Its heritage and culture is rich in color. Though it has seen terrible fighting and instability through a long time, its spirit comes from the ancient, deep seated wisdom of its glorious past.
Western Iraq is almost covered by the desert and is arid. Mountains mark the northeast region of Iraq. The Tigris and Euphrates are the two major rivers running through the country, and fertile land rests around the banks of these rivers. Abbasid palace, dating back to the 13th century, resides on the banks of the Tigris River near Baghdad. Remnants of this palace are truly spectacular and its architecture admirable.
Also in Baghdad is the Kadhimimain Mosque, one of the biggest and holiest mosques in Baghdad. A visit to all mosques is restricted to time and clothing. One must cover the head and women, especially should dress modestly.
Baghdad also boasts of many museums, filled with artifacts and treasures of a rich past. These are sadly depleted today and many went missing during the various raids and lootings. But a visit to the Iraqi museum, the Baghdad Museum and the Museum of Pioneer Arts is still a must. The Iraqi museum still has some ancient artifacts dating back to the Mesopotamian era. Baghdad museum is famous for the depiction of the Iraqi society and living. The Museum of Arts is a traditional house, which displays paintings and sculpture dating before the mid twentieth century. Though these treasures have been rampaged upon through recent times, they speak of a time of inherent wealth of culture.
One of the Seven Wonders of the World is also in Iraq and should not be missed. The hanging gardens of Babylon are situated in modern day Al Hillah, Babil. Situated in the plains near the river Euphrates, the garden was built in 600 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar II. It is said that he built these gardens to please his wife, who lusted for the lush greenery of her native Persia. Modern techniques of irrigation, unheard of in those days, were implemented to create the vast expanse of heavenly lushness. Though none of its splendor remains today, the site itself is a tourist attraction.
The remains of the ancient Sumerian city of Ur are also a sight to visit in Iraq. Dating back to 4000 BC, some of the buildings exhibit architecture that is spectacular for its age. Another ancient civilization splendor to watch out for is the Arch of Ctesiphon, standing through the ages since third century BC. It is part of the oldest of the world civilizations and the arch remains as the one and only standing testimony of a past of path-breaking science and spectacular architecture.
Iraq in its natural glory is generously endowed. A trip to the northern borders can be taken to explore the glorious mountains that mark its territory. The marshes near the rivers can also be explored for its wide and varied fauna - especially water birds.
All the fighting and bloodshed could not mar the beauty of Iraq and this can be experienced only if you visit the country.