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Location: 1 hour from Zakho (border with Turkey) via shared taxi and approximately 3 hours from Erbil
Population: 250,000 (approximate)
Located in the north of Iraqi Kurdistan, Dohuk is the closest of the three largest cities to the border crossing with Turkey. As a result, with it’s sprawling market, central mosque and laid-back atmosphere, this city offers an excellent introduction to this region. Dohuk can also be used as a base to explore the surrounding areas, with interesting places such as Amediyah, Lalish and Kani located relatively close by.
A quick walk along Kawa Road or Ayloul Road, the two main roads near the central bazaar, will lead you to a good range of hotels. To make things easy, you may want to start your search by asking your shared taxi driver to drop you off at or point you in the direction of one of the below hotels. You can then check it out and if it’s not suitable, continue walking down the street to find more options.
Here is a list of several hotel options…
Hotel Bircin – Excellent value budget hotel with comfortable rooms, private bathrooms with hot water, television and Wi-fi available for a reasonable fee. Breakfast included. Located at the intersection of Kawa Road and Cinema Street. Rooms from 20,000 ID.
Hotel Perleman – Friendly hotel with very decent rooms for budget prices. Rooms include air con, heater, small fridge and television. Located on Kawa Road practically in the market, although the entrance is down a small lane. Rooms start at 20,000 ID.
Darya Hotel – Clean rooms with private bathrooms starting at 12,000 ID.
Kordo Hotel – Large, suite-type rooms with sitting area for around $25 USD per night.
Duhok Palace Hotel – Good place on Ayloul Road with perfectly comfortable, modern rooms starting at 15,000 ID for a single.
Abin Hotel – Very nice rooms starting at 30,000 ID. Large beds and friendly English-speaking owner make this a good option. Located on Ayloul Road.
Things to Do (in the city):
Saint Ith Llaha Church: The oldest church in the Dohuk region, Saint Ith Llaha is believed to have been built around 500AD. It can be found a short distance to the west of Dohuk town.
Main Bazaar: Maze-like and full of interesting vendors, shops and eateries down every lane, this is the kind of market that one can easily get lost in for several hours.
Central Mosque: In the center of the bazaar stands an ancient mosque that’s worth a visit.
Folklore Museum: Located next to the Hotel Bircin (see above), this small museum doesn’t keep consistent opening hours but if you happen to be passing by, there is a small collection of interesting cultural items from around the region.
Things To Do (around Dohuk):
Amediyah: This 4,000 year old town dating back to the Assyrian period is impressively located atop a mountain, offering grand views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Sulav: Only 5km away from Amediyah, Sulav is wedged between the mountains and offers great views of the surrounding countryside. This is more of a restaurant/hotel community than an actual village but there are excellent photographic opportunities and you can also hike from Sulav to Amediyah following a route that takes you through a valley and across a canyon.
Kani: Tiny Christian village close to Amediyah that is home to the Mar Odisu Monastery.
Mar Odisu: Small Christian monastery located in the mountains above the small village of Kani.
Barzan: Small town along the banks of the Great Zab river and birthplace of Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani.
Akre: A mountainside community with an interesting old town and mosque. This town is not too far from Amediyah and lies between Dohuk and Erbil.
Gondik: The engravings and cave paintings found in the caves located at the top of a hill behind the village itself include various scenes that supposedly date back to the 3rd Century B.C.
Lalish: Located in a valley is the tomb of Sex Adi, the central figure of the faith known as Yazidi. It is an important pilgrimmage site for the Yazidis who are expected to make the trek to the tomb and temple in Lalish at least one time during their life.
Delal Bridge: Located in the town of Zakho (near the border of Turkey) this unique stone bridge (built from large stones and without machinery) is considered to be the oldest bridge of it’s kind in the Middle East.
Parastaga Zardasht: This site is home to an ancient Zoroastrian/Mithradate temple that was only recently discovered. It can be reached by a twenty minute walk from the northern edge of Dohuk and there are also waterfalls nearby.
Dohuk is an easy city to walk around by foot and local taxis are everywhere if you prefer not to walk. Taxis should cost around 3000 Iraqi Dinars anywhere within the city limits.
How To Get To Dohuk:
Easily accessible by shared taxi from the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing with Turkey, the town of Zakho, the city of Erbil as well as Sulamaniyah. Regular shared taxis also travel back and forth between Amediyah and Dohuk. For shared taxi fares to/from Dohuk, please visit our “Getting Around” page.
For a more detailed map that includes additional destinations and travel routes, check out “Maps & Itineraries“.