Sulaimaniya Facts


Surrounded by the Azmar, Goizja, Qaiwan and Baranan mountain ranges as well as the Tasluje Hills, Sulaimaniya is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan that has a dramatic backdrop.

It was the historic capital of Kurdish Baban between 1784 and 1850 and the modern city you will see if you travel to Sulaimaniya today was founded in November 1784 by Kurdish prince Ibrahim Pasha Baban, who named it after his father Sulaiman Pasha.

The city has had a turbulent past and was the subject of many power struggles in the 18th and 19th centuries in particular, but it is peaceful now and its economy relies on agriculture, a small amount of manufacturing and its burgeoning tourist economy.

Hotels in Sulaimaniya may not seem an obvious place in which to stay, but this region of Iraq is very beautiful and also full of interesting cultural attractions that will leave tourists fascinated.

Sulaimaniya Travel Tips

Getting there:

Having opened in 2005, Sulaimaniyah International Airport is the hub to which you will fly if you travel to the city by air.

Although you may not be able to get direct flights from your nearest airport, it will be possible to pick up connections from various cities around the world, including Dusseldorf in Germany, Amman in Jordan, Istanbul in Turkey and Bangkok in Thailand.

From outside the terminal building, you should be able to get a taxi to your accommodation; the Copthorne Hotel Baranan is one of the main hotels in the area.

Getting around:

There is currently no notable network of public transport in the city, although officials are working on this in a bid to encourage tourists to visit more frequently.

Demonstrations took place to highlight the issue of infrastructure in February 2011 and it is hoped this will encourage much more investment to facilitate getting around in Sulaimaniyah.

Currently, the metropolis is very dependent on road transport, so you will need to either hire a car if you feel confident about driving abroad or rely on taxi services.

Staff at your Sulaimaniyah hotel should be able to help you organise a taxi if you need one and it is a good idea to ask about general fare costs in advance so you do not get overcharged.

What to pack:

Sulaimaniyah has a semi-arid climate with very hot, dry summers. Although it is not subjected to temperatures as extreme as some of its Middle Eastern neighbours, visitors will find they need to cover up to prevent sunburn and avoid going out in the midday sun if possible.

You should therefore pack lots of light cotton clothing to see you through your trip.

A cover to protect your face from sand may also be a good idea as Sulaimaniyah is referred to locally as the windy city.

However, the opposite is true in winter, when you should pack lots of warm layers to keep you cosy during the heavy snowfall the city usually sees.

Sulaimaniyah is not as conservative as other parts of Iraq, but it is still less liberal than western countries so you should not wear clothing that is too revealing in order to avoid offence.

What to do and where to go?

Sulaimaniyah is not as well-established as a tourist hub as other cities, so you will not find things like theme parks here. However, you will find beautiful scenery, interesting cultural attractions and friendly people.

The Sulaimaniyah travel guide below will help you get started with an itinerary.

Famous Landmarks:

The University of Sulaymaniyah

Slemani's Great Mosque

The American University of Iraq - Sulaimani

Arts and Culture:

Sulaimani Museum

Amna Suraka Museum

Zamoa Gallery

Parks and Recreation:

Azadi park

Pasha's Coffee

The Bazaar

Population: 1,041,490

Area: 17023 sq km

Language: Iraqi Arabic

Currency: Iraqi dinar

Nearby Hotels