Our next stop was Al-Sulaymāniyyah, a city in northeastern Iraq in the Kurdistan region close to the Iranian border. The town lies on the Tānjarō River and the lower slopes of the Azmar Dāgh range. It experiences severe temperature extremes in summer and winter.

While economic and cultural activity in the Sulaymaniyah region can be traced back hundreds of years, the modern city of Sulaymaniyah was founded by a Kurdish prince in 1784. It is known for its fertile land and is surrounded by large plains that have historically produced the majority of wheat for Iraq. The largest university in Iraqi Kurdistan opened here in 1968 with instruction in Kurdish, Arabic, and English.

Widely available alcohol in designated shops in Sulaymaniyah attracts many Iranians to come for holidays and enjoy bars, discos, and nightclubs. Well-known clubs are located not only in Sulaymaniyah but also in Erbil. Kirkuk also has bars and alcohol shops, and there are some alcohol shops in Mosul and Basra as well. In addition, you find alcohol shops in the Christian quarters of Karrada and on Sadoun street in the capital of Baghdad.

We parked near the center at Azadi Park ( 🅿️1500 IQD / 24 hrs), where Iraq’s Baath regime mass murdered Kurds and buried them on the grounds. It was freezing weather (-2°C at night), so we took a taxi to the Bazaar area (3000 IQD) and later walked back to the truck. Finally, we also found out what the real fast-food prices should be – Hamburger – 2000 IQD, Döner – 1500 IQD, Cheeseburger – 2500 IQD, Assorted starters – 3000 IQD, Pizza from – 3000 IQD, French Fries – 1000 IQD, Coke – 500 IQD. In the morning, we discovered that all museums are closed, and only the former prison Amna Suraka was open. The “Red Jail” was once a house of unspeakable horrors. Under Saddam Hussein’s regime, this imposing red building was the northern headquarters of the notorious Iraqi Intelligence Service (Mukhabarat). Thousands of people, mainly Kurds, were imprisoned and tortured here. Many more simply vanished. In 1991 the Kurdish Peshmerga attacked and liberated the prison.

Parking location – Sulaymaniyah: 35.566347N 45.433023E