Our journey through Federal Iraq will begin in the capital city of Baghdad. Here we will visit Al-Mustansiriya University, Al-Abbasid Palace, the Museum of Iraq, and the Monument to the Victims. We will also stroll down the bustling central street of Al-Mutanabbi. Next, we will head to ancient Babylon and Saddam Hussein's Palace, located on a hill in the middle of the ancient city. We will then visit the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, with the tomb of Ali Ibn Abi Talib, also known as "Imam Ali," the first Imam of the Shiites, and the Mosque of Imam Ali.
We will continue to Nasiriyah, home to the second-largest museum in Iraq, which houses a large collection of Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Abbasid artefacts. We will also visit the ruins of Ur, one of the most important cities in the Sumerian era. Our final stop will be the delta of the Shatt al-Arab River, formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, where the so-called "Marsh Arabs" live. Here we will take a boat tour through the marshes, and in the evening, we will stay in a guesthouse to learn more about the life of the local people. We will then return to Baghdad, from where you will fly back home.
Dates: October 20-27, 2023;
Duration: 5 nights/7 days;
Group: 6/7 people;
Price of the program in Federal Iraq excluding flight tickets: €1,210/person (group of 7/8 people). If the group is smaller than 7 people, the price will slightly increase;
The price includes:
Guides: An english-speaking guide (Pavel Gospodinov); local guide/driver;
Transportation: Transfers to and from the airport in Baghdad and throughout the country by minibus along the route;
Accommodation: 3 nights at the 4-star Al Sadeer Palace Hotel in Baghdad (https://al-sadir-palace-baghdad.booked.net/); one night at the Al-Zaitoon Hotel in Nasiriyah - https://al-zaitoon-hotel.business.site/; one night at a guest house in southern Iraq; All accommodations include breakfast;
Excursions and museum visits: all entrance tickets for museums and the boat trip in the southern Iraq marshes.
Price does not include: lunches and dinners (food is not expensive); "Travel Assistance" insurance (this insurance is mandatory, calculated individually depending on the personal identification number); additional insurances such as "Trip Cancellation" (this insurance is not mandatory, calculated individually according to the personal identification number); visa ($75, obtained at the airport in Baghdad); personal expenses.
(1) Flights with Turkish Airlines
Departure: Istanbul 02.05 - Baghdad 05.00;
Baghdad 01.40 - Istanbul 04.45;
It is possible to book a flight from any location in the world to Istanbul airport, where the group will meet, or directly to Baghdad.
COVID entry requirements: There are no restrictions for entering the country.
This program provides an overview of the main elements of the trip. If you want concrete solutions tailored to your specific case and circumstances, please email us. We can arrange flight tickets from anywhere in the world to the starting point of the trip. Additionally, we can take care of hotel transfers, specific documents, or provide advice on Covid-related travel requirements. We will assist you at every stage of the organisation. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us!
Day 1 Arrival in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq
Today, we will arrive in Baghdad early in the morning as per the schedule. We will then transfer to the hotel, Al Sadeer Palace Hotel or a similar one, check-in, and rest for a while. After that, we will take a tour of the Iraqi capital and visit the following places and landmarks: Al-Mustansiriya School, Al-Abbasid Palace, the Iraq Museum, and the Monument to the Victims. We will also take a walk along the bustling central street of Al-Mutanabbi. In case we don't have enough time for some of these places today, we will have the opportunity to do more sightseeing on the last day.
Day 2 Babylon and Saddam Hussein's Palace
Babylon is one of the most famous ancient cities, located on the banks of the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia. Today, the city is situated in Iraq's Babil province. More information→ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon.
Saddam Hussein's Palace, built during the economic embargo following the Persian Gulf War of 1991, is situated on a hill in the middle of the ancient city. There are rumors that Saddam only visited the palace once, and its construction took four years. From 2003 to 2011, the palace served as the headquarters of US forces. Prior to 2003, people were not allowed to enter or even approach the palace. We returned to the hotel in Baghdad in the evening.
Day 3 Karbala and Najaf
Today, we will visit Karbala, one of the holiest places for Shia Muslims. It is surpassed in importance only by Mecca and Najaf. The city is divided into two parts - the old and the new. The Mashhad al-Husayn, the tomb of Husayn bin Ali (the grandson of the prophet Muhammad), is located in the middle. Every year, during the Ashura holidays, hundreds of thousands of devotees gather to honor the memory of the imam. Many elderly people come with the hope of dying in the city, as the tomb is considered one of the gates to paradise.
Continuing on to Najaf, we will visit the tomb of Ali Ibn Abi Talib, also known as "Imam Ali," the first imam of the Shiites and the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed. The city is a major center of worship for the entire Shiite Islamic world, with only Mecca and Medina receiving more Muslim pilgrims.
As the burial place of the second most important figure in Shiite Islam, the Imam Ali Mosque is considered by Shiites to be the third holiest Islamic site. Nearby is the Wadi al-Salam Cemetery, which is considered to be the largest cemetery in the world. Over the centuries, many hospices, schools, libraries, and Sufi centers have been built around the shrine. In the evening, we will return to Baghdad.
Day 4 Nasiriyah
Today, we will continue our journey to the city of Nasiriyah. Our first stop will be the Nasiriyah Museum, which is the second largest museum in Iraq. The museum houses a vast collection of Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Abbasid artefacts. After that, we will visit the ruins of Ur, one of the most important cities during the Sumerian era. We will spend the night in the city at the Al Zetoon hotel or a similar accommodation.
Day 5: The Marshes of Southern Iraq
Today, we will head towards the delta of the Shatt al-Arab river, which is formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This is where the so-called "marsh Arabs" reside. Some researchers believe that they are the spiritual descendants of St. John the Baptist, also known as Mandaeans or Sabians. The former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein ordered the marshes to be partially dried up as a punitive measure against the defiant Arabs living there.
Around 9,000 square km of marshland, considered by some to be the biblical Garden of Eden, were dried up, reducing up to 90% of their original size at the time. Today, there are projects underway to restore them, and almost 50% of the marsh areas have been returned to their original state.
Here, we will take a boat tour through the marshes and spend the night in a guesthouse to learn more about the life of the "marsh Arabs."
Day 6: Back to Baghdad
After exploring the marshes a little more, we will head back to Baghdad. In the city, we will revisit places we may have missed on the first day and take some time for shopping. In the evening, around 23:00, we need to be at the airport for an early flight the next day. There is no overnight stay planned for this day.
Day 7 Fly to Istanbul
Today, you will either fly back to Istanbul or return to your home country.
How to join us
Please email us if you would like more information about this trip or to sign up. We will respond as soon as possible and keep you updated on the organisation and all other details. If you are a group of at least 5 or 6 people (maximum 8), we can discuss dates that work for your group. You can also sign up for future trips. To join the list, simply send us your names. That's it!