Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Arbil, Iraq

Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:39am EDT
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By Serena Chaudhry

ARBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - In a country that bears the scars from decades of war and economic sanctions, the city of Arbil in the heart of Iraq's northern Kurdish region is a popular holiday spot.

With its modern shopping malls and lush parks, Arbil is a welcome break for Iraqis still plagued by bombings more than eight years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The city is also the proud home of the Citadel, one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world.

Arbil's blend of old meets new, from its mosques to its rollercoasters, appeal to both the young and old.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a 48-hour visit to the city.


8 p.m. Check into ChwarChra, one of Arbil's best known hotels, located near the Citadel and the Franso Hariri sports stadium. The hotel has a stately appearance and is suitable for business and pleasure. It has free wi-fi and a beauty center with a sauna and Turkish bath. (

If you prefer to be closer to the airport, then a good alternative is the relatively new five-star Rotana hotel, which is also situated by the Sami Abdul Rahman Park. (here)   Continued...