Kurdistan’s Parks Welcome Locals, War-Weary Outsiders
|June 17, 2013||Filled under Iraq Daily News|
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – While the rest of Iraq seethes in bouts of bombings and sectarian violence, the northern Kurdistan Region remains the country’s only haven of peace, typified by bountiful parks that attract even visitors from other provinces who come to calm frayed nerves.
Omar Sarheem, who lives in the city of Ramadi in volatile Anbar province south of the autonomous Kurdistan Region, said that the solitude and peace of the parks are welcome escapes from the violence and problems in his hometown.
“I bring my family to the park to escape from there, life is horrible,” he said.
Surrounded by plush greenery and a fountain which cools the temperature in the park, Sarheem and his family laughed and enjoyed their time at one of Erbil’s greatest parks, the Sami Abdul Rahman Park.
They were escaping the escalating sectarian violence and destabilizing climate in Anbar and the rest of Iraq, where the UN says more than 1,000 people were killed in May, the deadliest month in years.
Parks, which have grown together with the city of Erbil, have become a place for anyone to experience a bit of peace and tranquility, in lives littered with violence and disappointment.
But it is not only Iraqi travelers who are attracted to the parks. Tourists from all walks of life flood into the city to get a piece of Kurdish peace, which has blossomed ever since the Kurds gained greater autonomy following the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.
Kurdistan’s most prominent parks, where people come in the hundreds for picnics and relaxation, are Shanidar Park, Minaret Park and Sami Abdul Rahman Park.
From the Minaret Park, which was built in the 13th century and is surrounded by tall trees and grass, to Sami Abdul Rahman’s fountains and water that cool the air around on Erbil’s hottest days, each has its own unique flavor and scenery.
“The people who come here are from every walk of life and the parks have become a symbol of Kurdish prosperity and peace,” said Didar Zrar, a 26-year-old Kurd who goes to the park to spend some quiet time with his girlfriend, Shayda Ali.
“I like this place; it has mixed nationalities and it’s relaxing,” said Ali, who sat next to her boyfriend on a park chair, her black Islamic headscarf billowing in the soft breeze.
Erbil was just recently named the 2014 tourism capital by the Arab Council of Tourism, taking the spot despite stiff competition from Beirut, Taif and Sharjah.
In 2012, around 1.8 million people visited the region and nearly 2.17 million people visited its tourist attractions, according to official figures. The Kurdistan Regional Government hopes to attract four million tourists a year by 2015.
Related Iraqi Articles-
Iraqi Dinar Investment?
WILL THE IRAQI DINAR BE REVALUED?
Iraqi Dinar: Scam or God-Send?
Central Bank Reveals Details of the Iraqi Currency
Cancellation of “Zeros” from Iraqi Currency Won’t Solve Iraq’s Economic Crisis
Iraqi Dinars: Smart Investment or Smoke and Mirrors?
Iraqi Dinar Revaluation Soon
Iraq Dinar Value Seems Likely To Significantly Increase
The Recent Iraq 2011 Budget May Have Leaked the Coming Currency Revaluation
Buy New Iraqi Dinars and Put Them in a Drawer
Columbus Hooters to Visit Iraq, Kuwa
Iraqi Dinar Trade – What Next After the Revaluation?
The Deletion of Three Zeroes From the Iraqi Currency Is a National Demand
Investing in Iraq- What Investors Have Been Waiting For
Crisis of Fiat Currencies: US Dollar Surpluses Converted Into Gold
Gold Dinar Will End Currency Wars