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Asia > Middle East > Iraq > Northwestern Iraq

Northwestern Iraq

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Travel Warning WARNING: Northwestern Iraq remains extremely dangerous and is emphatically NOT safe for tourists. Those traveling here on business should ride in an armored car, and have an armed guard with them. Otherwise, do not even THINK about travelling here!
Government travel advisories
(Information last updated Jun 2018)

Northwestern Iraq (also known as Al-Jazira, Upper Mesopotamia, Assyria, Nineveh, or Ninawa) is a region largely between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the northwestern part of Iraq.


Map of Northwestern Iraq

  • 1 Kirkuk - A largely Kurdish city currently under control of the Iraqi Government.
  • 2 Mosul - The site of Nineveh, the Al-Nuri Mosque, and other sites, nearly all of which have been destroyed because of the recent conflict with ISIS.
  • 3 Sinjar- Located near the Syrian border.
  • 4 Tal Afar- Home to a large Ottoman-era fortress.
  • 5 Tikrit- The birthplace of Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq.

Other destinations[edit]


Get in[edit]

As of 2018, Northwestern Iraq remains extremely dangerous for tourists. Bullet holes dot buildings, carcasses of bombed vehicles are stacked along the road, and numerous checkpoints dot the highways. In addition to being treated as a suspect for suspicious activity by the military, one runs the risk of being totally exposed if a full car search is conducted (which occurs frequently).

When travelling to Iraqi Kurdistan, one MUST avoid this province. This must be made extremely clear with taxi drivers (who will not be too keen on travelling to NW Iraq themselves).

Note that a HUGE error can be made if a foreigner accepts a ride from someone travelling to Kirkuk or Baghdad-- people from these regions are desensitized in some respects, and will drive around Northwestern Iraq (through its suburbs) to shave off a half hour of driving time (by not driving around the Mosul province).

You can realise that you're entering Northwestern Iraq by the flags at the checkpoints. Know the difference between Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan flags-- it might save your life.

Get around[edit]

The roads in NW Iraq are in the worst condition in the country, often badly damaged and littered with landmines.


  • 1 Assur. These are the ruins of a city founded around 2500BC and inhabited until the 14th century AD. It's inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


The drinking age of Iraq is 21.

Stay safe[edit]

At the moment, Northwestern Iraq is unsafe for any travel or sightseeing. Although ISIS has been largely driven out, the threat of terrorism remains strong, the cities are mostly in ruins, and landmines still litter the entire region.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Northwestern Iraq is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!