Doublin' Up on Dohuk
by Joe Scarangella
During my first visit to Iraqi Kurdistan several years ago, the city of Dohuk was where i broke ground. Although the town was nice enough, i remember a feeling of under-whelm-ment. Recently, with few viable options to get out of Erbil for a day or two, i opted to revisit the city. I'm glad i did.
I was shocked at how much the city has grown, although i guess i shouldn't be. With development running amuck all over Kurdistan at the moment, it should not have been a surprise to see the town expanding to the horizon. But there is still no question where the life of the city is. The central bazar heaves under the footsteps and bargaining of the locals. And visiting during a holiday meant it was even busier. However with a "been there, done that" feeling starting to set in, i headed out to find things i missed out on the first time (or that were new)
Having only been discovered in 2006, the Carsten Sculptures are Zoroastrian ruins set in the hill around Dohuk, overlooking the Dohuk dam (although the dam wasn't there in Zoroastrian times). Located a short walk outside Dohuk, towards the dam, the ruins require a fair bit of imagination, and 500 IQD to enter. To get there, take the pleasant drainage ditch park located behind the Duski Hotel. Once at the end, follow the road along the river towards the dam. The ruins are up the hill to on the right. The office is well labelled in English. But for me, the reward wasn't the ruins, but the wonderful view over the dam below.
The other nice addition to the city is the Azadi (peace) Park and its adjoining panorama (of the uncreative same name). Built just off the main road, the park is very popular with local families in the late afternoons. As is the common theme around the country, the green space comes alive with the screams and squeals of children as young couple attempt to steal away kisses hidden from the judging eyes of town elders. But, that sadly, other than the ruins and the park, there wasn't much else to attract my attention. The museum in town is the worst in the country. The amusement parks are just not my thing. But Dohuk has an advantage to travellers far greater than a few mediocre distractions. The city is possibly the best place from which to base yourself to explore other places nearby. It's easy to get to Zakho to see the Delal Bridge (6,000 IQD shared taxi o/w). A day trip to the Yazidi holy town of Lalish including the monastery at Al Kosh can be done for around 50,000 IQD. Or you could go north to Amediyah (25,000 private taxi o/w)
Dohuk is a place that is more than just a some of its tourist parts. For those quickly passing through, it has enough to fill a day or so. For those with a little more time, it's an excellent base to explore the region. But for those slow travellers, Dohuk offers a very different experience than Erbil or Suly. Either way, no trip to Iraq would be complete without a visit to Dohuk.
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
Za-kho, Za-kho, Off to the Bridge I Go
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)
Back to list of experiences