Dahūk, Iraq

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Dahūk, Iraq

Region: Dahūk Governorate

Geographic Coordinates: 36.866700, 43.000000
Temperature Range: 5.0°C to 45.0°C (41°F to 113°F)
Climate: Seasonal.
Population: 330600
Language: Kurdish

Dahūk is a city in northern Iraq, Located approximately 400 kilometers north of Baghdad. It is the capital of Dahūk Governorate, One of three governorates within the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The city boasts a rich history and culture that dates back thousands of years, With archaeological sites and ancient ruins scattered throughout the region. The citadel is one of Dahūk’s most prominent landmarks. It sits atop a hill overlooking the city and dates back to at least the 12th century. Over its long history, It has served as both a military stronghold and residential area.

Today, It serves as an important cultural center for Dahūk with several museums and exhibitions showcasing local art, Artifacts, And historical documents. Dahūk’s bazaar or souq is another popular attraction for visitors. This bustling marketplace offers an opportunity to experience traditional Kurdish culture while shopping for spices, Textiles or handcrafted jewelry. Additionally, There are several cafes where visitors can relax with some tea or coffee while taking in their surroundings.

Nature enthusiasts will find plenty to explore around Dahūk as well; surrounding areas are home to several national parks/nature reserves offering hiking trails through rugged mountainsides/lush valleys filled with wildflowers/stunning waterfalls cascading down rocky cliffs. For those interested in learning more about Kurdish culture specifically; there are several cultural centers throughout Dahūk where visitors can attend workshops on traditional crafts like weaving/pottery-making or take part in dance performances featuring local music styles like kurdî le zimanê kurmancî (Kurdish folk music).

foodies will not be disappointed by what’s on offer in this vibrant city either – from classic Middle Eastern dishes like falafel wraps/shawarma plates served up at street vendors all over town; fresh seafood caught daily from nearby lakes/rivers; to more elaborate Kurdish specialties like kubba hamuth (a type of meat-filled dumpling) or dolma (stuffed grape leaves). Overall, Dahūk is a city that offers visitors a unique blend of history, Culture, And natural beauty.

With its welcoming people, Delicious food, And diverse range of activities/attractions to explore; it’s no wonder this hidden gem in northern Iraq has become an increasingly popular destination for travelers from all over the world.

Important Landmarks

  1. Zawa Mountain is a must-visit tourist attraction that offers stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains.
  2. The Lalish Temple is a sacred site for the Yazidi religion, famous for its unique architecture and rich history.
  3. The Duhok Dam is a large dam that provides electricity and water to the region, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
  4. The Amadiya Citadel is an ancient fortress located on a hilltop overlooking the town of Amadiya, providing panoramic views of the area.
  5. Qalat Samaan, also known as St. Simeon’s Monastery, dates back to the 5th century AD and impresses visitors with its remarkable architecture and historical significance.
  6. The Azmar Mountains are located near Dahuk and offer scenic hiking trails along with awe-inspiring views of the surrounding landscape.
  7. Fish Market Square is a bustling market square famous for its fresh seafood dishes such as grilled fish served with traditional Iraqi side dishes like hummus and tabbouleh.
  8. Gara Mountain Resort is a popular ski resort situated in northern Iraq near Dahuk that offers skiing and snowboarding opportunities during winter months.
  9. The Kurdistan Museum showcases Kurdish culture through art exhibits showcasing regional history, religion, language & traditions.
  10. The Ancient City Of Nineveh has been declared as UNESCO World Heritage site which features remnants from one of Iraq’s most prominent cities in antiquity.

Primary Industries

  1. Oil and gas exploration: Dahūk is located in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, which has significant oil and gas reserves.
  2. Agriculture: The region is known for its production of wheat, barley, fruits, and vegetables.
  3. Construction: With a growing population, there is a high demand for new housing and infrastructure development.
  4. Retail: There are several shopping centers and markets in Dahūk that cater to both locals and tourists.
  5. Tourism: The city has several historical sites such as the ancient city of Amadiya, the Lalish temple complex, and the Duhok Dam that attract visitors from around the world.
  6. Education: There are several universities in Dahūk that offer higher education opportunities to students from across Iraq.
  7. Healthcare: The city has many hospitals and medical clinics that provide healthcare services to residents of Dahūk as well as neighboring areas.

Noteable History

  1. The ancient city of Amadiya, located near Dahūk, was an important center of the Assyrian Empire in the 7th century BC.
  2. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire massacred thousands of Assyrian Christians in and around Dahūk.
  3. In 1991, during the Gulf War, Kurdish rebels took control of Dahūk and other cities in northern Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s forces withdrew from the area.
  4. Jalal Talabani, a prominent Kurdish politician who served as President of Iraq from 2005 to 2014, was born in a village near Dahūk.
  5. The Yazidi community is also present in Dahūk and surrounding areas; they have faced persecution by ISIS militants since 2014.
  6. In recent years, tourism has become an important industry for Dahūk due to its scenic natural beauty and historical sites like the Lalish Temple (a sacred site for Yazidis) and Amadiya Castle (a fortress dating back to ancient times).

Museums and Things To See

  1. Amna Suraka Museum: This museum was once a notorious prison under Saddam Hussein’s regime and now serves as a memorial to the victims of the Kurdish genocide.
  2. Duhok Dam: This impressive dam offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is a popular spot for picnics and outdoor activities.
  3. Lalish Temple: The holiest site in the Yazidi religion, this temple is located in Lalish village, just outside of Dahūk.
  4. Zawa Mountain: A popular hiking destination with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
  5. Kurdish Textile Museum: This museum showcases traditional Kurdish textiles and clothing, providing insight into local culture and history.
  6. Kani Masi Wildlife Reserve: Located about 40 km from Dahūk, this reserve is home to various species of wildlife including wild boars, wolves, foxes, and birds of prey.
  7. Akre Castle: A historic fortress located on top of a hill overlooking Akre town, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  8. Zakho Bridge: An ancient bridge that dates back to the Ottoman era and spans across the Khabur River in Zakho town.
  9. Gara Mountain Range: A beautiful mountain range that offers stunning scenery for hikers and nature lovers alike.
  10. Sarsang Reservoir Lake: A picturesque lake surrounded by mountains that offers fishing opportunities as well as boat rides for visitors to enjoy.

Sports Teams

  1. Duhok SC: It is a football club based in Duhok, Iraq. The club was founded in 1973 and has won several domestic titles over the years.
  2. Zakho FC: It is another football club based in Zakho city of Dahuk province. The club was founded in 1990 and has participated in several domestic competitions.
  3. Duhok basketball team: The basketball team of Duhok has been participating in various national tournaments since its inception.
  4. Shingal FC: It is a newly formed football club that represents the Shingal region of Dahuk province.
  5. Zeravani SC: It is a football team that represents the Kurdish security forces known as Peshmerga.

Overall, sports are an essential part of life for people living in Dahuk province, and many local teams participate regularly at different levels of competition within Iraq’s sporting landscape.

Cultural Events

  1. Newroz Festival is a Kurdish New Year celebration held on March 21st featuring traditional music, dancing, and food.
  2. The Dahūk International Film Festival occurs annually in September and features films from around the globe.
  3. Eid al-Fitr is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan with feasting, gift-giving, and prayer.
  4. Ashura is a Shia Muslim holiday that commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussain with mourning rituals like self-flagellation and processions.
  5. Kurdistan Independence Day falls on September 25th to celebrate Iraqi Kurdistan’s autonomy from Iraq in 1991.
  6. National Day of Iraq takes place on October 3rd to commemorate Iraq’s independence from British rule in 1932.
  7. Shab-e-Yalda is a Persian winter solstice celebration held on December 21st or 22nd where families gather to eat pomegranates and watermelon while reciting poetry or playing games like backgammon or chess.
  8. Although not widely celebrated by Muslims in Iraq, some Christians in Dahūk celebrate Christmas with church services, caroling, gift-giving, and feasting.


  • Masgouf: A traditional Iraqi dish made with grilled fish served with bread, onions, and lemon.
  • Kubba: A popular dish made of ground meat mixed with rice and spices, then formed into balls or cylinders and fried.
  • Shawarma: A Middle Eastern sandwich made of grilled meat (usually chicken or beef) wrapped in a pita bread with vegetables and sauce.
  • Biryani: A spicy rice dish cooked with chicken or lamb, vegetables, and various spices.
  • Al Diwan Restaurant: Known for its traditional Iraqi dishes such as masgouf fish and kubba soup.
  • Zanko Fast Food Restaurant: Popular for its shawarma sandwiches and burgers.
  • Narenj Restaurant: Serves traditional Kurdish cuisine including biryani rice dishes and kebabs.
  • Abu Shaker Restaurant: Famous for its grilled meat dishes such as lamb chops and kebabs served with rice pilaf.

Note that due to the ongoing conflict in Iraq it is advisable to check the current situation before traveling to any part of the country including Dahūk.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Azadi Park
  2. Shanidar Park
  3. Duhok Dam Lake
  4. Mart Shmoni Church and Garden
  5. Bawiti Amusement Park
  6. Lalish Temple
  7. Zawa Mountain Resort
  8. Amedi Old Town and Citadel
  9. Gara Mountain Resort
  10. Raniya Lake


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