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Living in Erbil

A comprehensive guide about living well in Erbil

Erbil, also known by its Kurdish name, Hawler, is the largest and fastest growing Kurdish city, with a modern twinge that surprises many foreigners. With shopping malls, highrisers, and swanky hotels everywhere, Erbil is far from what you would expect of an Iraqi city. Old and new coexist side-by-side in a city where a few minutes’ walk can take you from your five-star hotel to a bustling street bazaar. Read more information in the InterNations GO! Guide!

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Life in Erbil

Culture and Leisure 

Erbil’s beautiful ancient citadel is a highlight for anyone visiting the city. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this old part of the city has been inhabited for 8,000 years and therefore offers a wealth of sightseeing opportunities. The citadel towers above Erbil and invites exploration of its magnificent castle, the Mulla Afandi mosque and its 18th century hamman, or bath house. 

If you love indulging in some retail therapy then there are plenty of opportunities to splash your cash in Erbil. One of the largest and most modern shopping malls in the whole of Iraq is based there; the Majidi Mall has all the stores you would expect to find back home, with familiar fast food chains and high street fashion brands aplenty. Another must visit is the Qaysari bazaar; based in the city’s largest square, this vibrant market is the perfect place to find some hidden treasures and to test your bargaining skills.

Healthcare in Erbil

Health services are readily available in Erbil, and vast improvements have been made in recent years. A good number of emergency hospitals have opened up and a drive has been underway to attract expat Iraqi physicians, with experience of western healthcare, to return to the region. 

There are both government funded and privately run hospitals in Erbil that cover a wide range of specialties. Some of the most notable include the Emergency Hospital (with trauma and burn center), Hawler Private Hospital (with cardiac and orthopedic centers), Pediatric Hospital, and the multispecialty PAR Hospital. 

The number for the ambulance service is 122. 

Safety and Security

Living in Iraq, you might think that terrorist attacks would be a real cause for concern, however Erbil is one of the safest cities and is located in the most stable region of the country. There are many checkpoints in to the city which are extremely successful in deterring crime, and the strong presence of Peshmerga, the Kurdish military forces, also keeps the peace.

Foreigners should avoid travel outside of Kurdistan, as other regions of Iraq and borders with neighboring countries can be extremely dangerous. Visitors should also carry identification with them everywhere to avoid being detained by the authorities. Photographing military personnel and checkpoints is strictly prohibited and could lead to confiscation of your camera and even detention.

The emergency number for the police is 144-124-104.

Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!

Updated on: December 06, 2018
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