Iraq Highlights
Iraq is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. The capital and largest city is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups, including Arabs, Assyrians, Turkmen, Yazidis, Armenians, etc. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidismand also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish. Islam is the state religion of Iraq.

History and Government
The modern nation of Iraq is built upon foundations that go back to some of humanity's earliest complex cultures. It was in Iraq, also known as Mesopotamia, that Babylonian king Hammurabi regularized the law in the Code of Hammurabi. Under Hammurabi's system, society would inflict upon a criminal the same harm that the criminal had inflicted upon his victim. This is codified in the famous dictum, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." More recent Iraqi history, however, tends to support the Mahatma Gandhi's take on this rule. He is supposed to have said that "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." Iraq is structured around a federal parliamentary republic made up of 19 governorates and one autonomous region known as Iraqi Kurdistan.

Geography and Environment
Most of Iraq is a series of broad, sandy plains. The Syrian Desert blankets the land in the extreme west. In the southeast near the Persian Gulf, the land is low, marshy, and often flooded. Iraq is mountainous in the north, as the Zagros Mountains front its borders with Iran and Turkey. The country's highest point is located there, an unnamed peak rising 11,847. Two of the most significant rivers in all of Asia, the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, drain the land.

Culture
Iraq has one of the oldest cultural histories in the world. The Western Asian country of Iraq has a culture that has integrated the cultures of its diverse ethnic groups over a period of centuries. It has produced some of the best poets, painters, and sculptors in the Arab world. In the past, Baghdad was the Arab world's seat of cultural evolution. The Ancient Mesopotamian civilization originated in the region that now includes Iraq.

Festivals
In addition to Islamic-based festivals and traditions, Iraq holidays also include a number of cultural events and religious celebrations. Christmas festivities are enjoyed by the small Christian population that remained in the country after the 2003 Iraq War, while art and other forms of expression are widely observed throughout the country. The most well-known festivals in Iraq include Iraq Short Film festival when a series of short films are shown in the Arabic or Kurdish language throughout Baghdad, Babylon International festival, which represents different cultures and civilizations, celebrating science and culture through folkloric ensembles, singing, musicals, stage performances, seminars, workshops, and other activities. Its main goal is to preserve ancient traditions by passing them on to the younger generations.

Cuisine
Iraqi cuisine, also known as the Mesopotamian cuisine, is one of the world’s oldest cuisines. The first cookbooks in the world were produced in Iraq. Kebab is one of the most popular dishes of this cuisine. Grilled meat sandwich wrap called gauss, quzi (rice served with lamb, raisins, almonds, and spices), maqluba (rice, meat, and vegetable dish served upside down), etc., are some other typical dishes of the Iraqi cuisine. Arak ( alcoholic drink) and beer are the most popular alcoholic beverages in Iraq. Coffee, tea or chai, sharbat and Shinēna (a cold beverage made from water and yogurt) are the most widely consumed non-alcoholic beverages in Iraq.

Best Time to Visit Iraq
Spring and fall are the ideal months to travel when the temperatures are mild. Winters are surprisingly cold, even in Erbil, and summers are hot. However, the weather is never really extreme, so Iraq is a year-round destination.

Tourist Attractions
Iraq is known as the birthplace of civilization. Its landscape includes various climates, ecologies and ecosystems; making it a true beauty to behold across all 18 provinces. The most famous places of interests are the following; Ziggurats, terraced pyramid temples erected during Ancient Mesopotamia, are found throughout Iraq and Iran. One of the most well-preserved ziggurats is the Ziggurat of Ur built by King Ur-Nammu, Babylon, the center of Mesopotamia for two millennia and one of the most notorious cities of the ancient world. This city is considered to be one of the earliest cradles of civilization, and a cultural center for art, science, and literature.

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