- Not to be confused with Mount Koya, a mountain in Japan.
Koya or Koye, also known as Koy Sanjaq or Koysinjaq, surrounded by the Bawaji and Haibat Sultan mountains, is known as one of the most beautiful regions of Kurdistan. Tourist attractions in the city include the shrines of Kosar, Janarook, Hamamouk, Jely Kadan, Koumet Tal, Nazanin, and Marbina Qadisha.
Koya is in the Erbil Governorate, at the border to Sulemania Governorate. Its Population is 45,000 (as of 2016).
Historians believe that Koya enjoyed a great prestige under the Gothera. The Assyrians and Medians also occupied Koya through the ages. The city is famous for its mosques, which often also centered for studies of sciences and arts. Many scholars, poets and artists like Haji Qader Koyi, Awni, Dldar, Bakouri, Taher Tawfiq and others have been active here. Today, its academic reputation continues through the Koya University and is an important hub of culture in the region.
There are direct buses from Erbil and Sulaymaniyah.
You can also take the taxi from Erbil or Sulaymaniyah.
Koya Bazaar (qeysariya)
This is one of the oldest bazaars (open markets) in the region, with shops and stands selling a wide variety of local products. Step through the ancient arched doorways and explore the alleyways that define history. The market is located in the center of the city.
Located south of Koya city, Chwar Taqan is a resting place and stopover for caravans traveling between Koya, Erbil, and Kirkuk. The District Commissioner of Koya renovated the ruins of Chwar Taqan in 2002. They include four great water jars used by the caravan travelers and their mules.
Shrine of Marbina Qadisha
Located northeast of the Harmoota village, 3 km away from Koya, is the shrine of Marbina Qadisha. Also known as ‘Marbina Behnam’, some believe that Mar Behnam and his sister Sara built this shrine. Others believe that a number of monks from Mosul were driven away and took refuge in the shrine during the Mongolian invasion of the city. To this date, people often visit this site on pilgrimages.
Qshla is located in the center of Koya City. Researchers differ on the date of its foundation. Some relate it to the Mamalik era while others believe it was constructed in the second half of the 19th century during the rule of the Ottoman Governor Midhat Pasha of Baghdad.
Sery Kusar Village
Sery Kusar is a village with resorts with pleasant temperatures in the summer. There are restaurants, hotels and recreational areas. It is just 4 km from Koya.
Part of the Koya District, the region is renowned for its many gardens and enchanting natural surroundings. A small river passes through the city and it is very popular during spring as many use the site for picnics.
Chom Haidar is a renowned local oasis famous for its cool lake and natural greenery, many choose to picnic in the area and swim in the lake. Chom Haidar is located 21 km south of Koya and 101 km far from Erbil. It is a tourist and archeological region.
- Erbil is 71 km (44 mi) away, a drive of little more than an hour.