The Amazing Faces Of Kurdistan, Iraq. Scanning the news on any given day, and it is natural to feel a bit apprehensive. Car bombings, kidnappings, beheadings. But once on the ground, your preconceptions are quickly washed away in a wave of hospitality and welcomes. For several days, I wandered the streets of Erbil, the regional capital of Kurdistan and had many conversations and interactions with the locals. Whether I strolled through a mosque, the Citadel, or the local souk, my interactions were consistent. Hospitality.
I also spent an afternoon walking the small city center of Akre. A curved drive to the east from Erbil and two hours later I arrived in Akre. The other options is to the west which takes you through Mosul which everyone should avoid unless you want to spend time in the company of ISIS. Akre is a timeless town that dates back over 2,500 years. The quiet town sits in between brown, green-speckled hills. I listen to the haunting call of prayer as I hike up to one of the peaks to gaze at the remains of the Akre Citadel built by Prince Zand in the times before Christ. Later I munch on a chicken kebab, walk the mini-souk, and take photos with the locals.
In the shadow of the Citadel, I rested under a tent, escaping the heat. I puffed on a shisha, sipped on sweet tea. And made friends with some teens smoking away on Friday,