Za-kho, Za-kho, Off to the Bridge I Go
by Joe Scarangella
There's nothing wrong with Chumbawamba (of Tubthumping fame). They are one of many one-hit wonders that simply weren't able to parlay initial success into a full blown career. The Iraqi border town of Zakho is a bit like that. It is a one-hit wonder that will never really make it on the tourist radar.
Few overland travellers, entering Iraqi Kurdistan from Turkey, bother to stop in Zakho. It's little wonder why. The town is nice enough and it's safe. And it's setting might even be called pretty with snowcapped mountains in the distance. There are plenty of hotel and cafe options, a rarity in Kurdistan. And plenty of user-friendly transport links (signs in English) to most places in the region. But "functional" is hardly a word used to pull in the tourist masses. The city is just that, a city. There is nothing unique or special about the place unless you're really into Transport spotting as there are more than a few trucks lining up to cross into Turkey.
However, the one thing Zakho does have is a bridge, the Delal Bridge to be specific. Originally dating back to the Roman era, this 15.5 meter tall 114 meter long bridge is lovely. It doesn't really go to or from anywhere anymore, and the only traffic it sees is that of excited cross border shoppers looking for a photo op. Even the river below is more of a babbling brook (although the water is surprisingly clean for this region) But none of that matters. For bridge-o-philes, the Delal Bridge is something special. And even for laymen, the bridge makes for an interesting diversion and distraction from the otherwise dull border town.
I'm not sure the Delal Bridge warrants a stay in Zakho. The town is fine and might break up a long travel day to/from Turkey. But there are places much higher on the Mediocrity Scale in the country.
You can read more by Joe here: http://www.joestrippin.blogspot.com/.
More by Joe ScarangellaIraq (Kurdistan Region)
Stumblin' over History
Goin' without Knowin'
Fallin' in Northern Iraq
Charmed by Koya
Doublin' Up on Dohuk
Divine Lunchin' (Mar Mattai)
Shaqlawan Sugar Coatin'
Al Kosh, of Course!
A Day at the Museums (Erbil)
Parkin' it in Erbil
Suly the Sequel (Sulaymaniyah)
Duckin' into Dukan
Crackin' the Citadel (Erbil)
Takin' the High Road (Dohuk - Erbil)
Iraq's B-Side (Amedi)
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