30 YEARS journeying through the cradle of civilizasion

INFORMATION - BOOK A TOUR

SOUTH IRAQ

Southern Iraq Historical Tour
“The Land between the Rivers”

10 Days - 9 Nights 
Note: Itineraries, hotels and restaurants may change as circumstances require.

Day 1: Arrival Baghdad – Hotel Check-in 

You will be met at Baghdad International Airport and check-in to the hotel. Early arrivals may have an opportunity to explore Baghdad. 

Dinner will be in the hotel depending on the time of arrival.

Accommodation: "Noor Land" Hotel// Baghdad Hotel (or similar) Transportation: 45 – 1:15 mins driving time / 32 Kilometers 
Meals: Dinner (depending on time of arrival)  

Day 2: Baghdad - Samarra - Ctesiphon 

7 AM - Breakfast in the hotel/There will be a briefing conducted by your tour guide.

8:00 AM - Depart for Samarra 78 miles north of Baghdad. In the medieval times, Samarra was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate and is the only remaining Islamic capital that retains its original plan, architecture, and artistic relics. In 2007, UNESCO named Samarra one of its World Heritage sites.  Its origins date to 5500 BC.

Lunch in one of Baghdad’s finest restaurants 

Afternoon visit to Ctesiphon, an ancient city located on the left (northeast) bank of the Tigris River about 20 miles southeast of Baghdad, in east-central Iraq. It served as the winter capital of the Parthian empire and later of the Sasanian Empire. The site is famous for the remains of a gigantic hall, the Taq Kisra, which is traditionally regarded as the palace of the Sasanian king Khosra I (reigned AD 241-272). 
   
Time permitting, we will enjoy a light city tour overnight in Baghdad (B L D)

Accommodation: "Noor Land" Hotel// Baghdad Hotel (or similar) 
Transportation: 02:30 – 3:00 Hours driving time / 130 Kilometers 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner  

Day 3: Baghdad Iraqi Museum and City Sites

In the morning, visit the Archaeological Museum of Iraq, then visit El-Mustansiriya school (Madrassa), one of the oldest Islamic institutions of higher learning in the world, established in 1227 by the Abbasid Caliph al-Mustansir and located on the left bank of the Tigris River. In 1235 AD, the hours of prayer were announced by day and night via a monumental water-powered alarm clock located in the entrance hall.

The Madrasah is still functioning in a new building and is now part of the Al-Mustansiriya University following an expansion and restructuring of the original Madrassa in 1927. 

Then head to Al-Mutanabi Street named after the 10th century classical Iraqi poet and explore Souk al-Safareen, the famous Copper Market. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight in Baghdad (B L D).

Accommodation: "Noor Land" Hotel// Baghdad Hotel (or similar)   
Transportation: 1 Hours 30 min driving time / 20 Kilometers 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner     

Day 4: – Babylon - Karbala

Depart after breakfast for the city of Babylon. Upon arrival tour the ancient city, one of the largest of Mesopotamia. Totally rebuilt under Saddam who practically resurrected a site, which was nothing but crumbling hills. The entire central palace of Babylon shines in 20th century fired bricks, it is impressive to walk through these vast courts and to think that Alexander the Great died in the same throne room, surrounded by his mourning generals.

The same famed Ishtar Gate is displayed at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin but here you can see the original layer of the processional way with the magnificent carvings. Right behind Babylon with gorgeous views over the Euphrates and the ruins towers one of the most impressive Palaces of Saddam. This one is open for people to roam around in. It has been looted to the last light bulb and filled with graffiti. The sheer size and cost of this palace and the fact that he most likely never ever even was there, indicates the magnitude of his madness and waste. 

Proceed to Karbala; a holy city for Iraqi Shia because it holds the shrine of the martyred Imam Husayn Ibn Ali, who died here in 680 and the subsequent conflict over succession of the caliphate, distinguished the Shia from the Sunni sects of Islam. 

Dinner and overnight in Karbala  
Accommodation: Baron Hotel (or similar) 
Transportation: 4:00 Hours driving time / 145 Kilometers 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner   

Day 5: Karbala to Kifl– Kufa -Najaf

In the morning, depart for Najaf an Islamic holy city and home to the shrine of Imam Ali, Prophet Mohammad's cousin and son-in-law and the fourth caliph (656-661), on the way, we visit the town of Al Kifl with its shrine dedicated to prophet Ezekiel and visit the Kufa mosque.

Check into the hotel and in the evening visit the souk around the glittering shrine complex. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight in Najaf.

Accommodation: ZamZam Hotel (or similar)  
Transportation: 3:00 Hours driving time / 130 Kilometers 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner     

Day 6: Najaf to URUK to Nasiriya

Depart towards Samawa, settled on both sides of the Euphrates River. Tour Warka, the excavated site of Uruk, reportedly the first city on earth, where writing was invented.

Proceed to Nasiriya, the capital of the province of Dhi-Qar, near the ruins of the ancient city of Ur on the Euphrates River. 

In the evening, take a stroll in Nasiriya through its bustling souk before dinner. 

Overnight in Nasiriya  
Accommodation: Erbil International Hotel-Erbil, Iraq 
Transportation: 7 Hours driving time / 360 Kilometers 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner   

Day 7: Nasiriya to Ur

In the morning, visit the Ziggurat of Ur built with similar characteristics as the Tower of Babel mentioned in the Bible and the towers of a temple complex dedicated to the lunar god Nanna.

Tour the archeological city of Ur, believed to be the birthplace prophet Abraham. After lunch, take a stroll in Nasiriya bustling souk before dinner. 

Overnight in Nasiriya   
Sumerian Hotel (or similar) 
Transportation: 3 Hours driving time / 155 Kilometers 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner   

Day 8: Nasiriya to Marshes to Basra

Breakfast in the hotel.

In the morning, depart to the marshes for a full day tour with a canoe or boat ride. Have a daylong excursion to the Tigris and into the marshes. It is one of the largest ecosystems in the world and one of its strangest aquatic environments, where man lives alongside animals, birds, and fish. 

The region is currently being rehabilitated after the dramatic and aggressive drainage policy conducted under the regime of Saddam Hussein. This immense body of water at the entrance to the Shatt-el-Arab covered with reeds and dotted with lake-dweller villages, is home to the Marsh Arabs. This region was already inhabited 5,000 years ago, as witnessed by the Sumerian bas-reliefs. Since then, the population has retained a lifestyle built essentially around fishing, buffalo breeding and reed weaving. 

Continue to Basra and on the way to visit the Paradise of Aden where Tigris and Euphrates meet in an amazing scene. 

Dinner and overnight in Basra   
Accommodation: Horizon Hotel (or similar) 
Transportation: 4 Hours driving time / 220 Kilometers 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner   

Day 9: Basra

After breakfast, head out for sightseeing in the old city, along the stretch of the canal lined with the Ottoman Shenashil Houses. It is a sad shadow of Basra’s former glory. Unfortunately, most of the villas are unoccupied and dilapidated. However, we may visit one of the remaining in tact homes owned by a wealthy Greek merchant in the 19th century.

Then ride in a boat on the Shatt Al-Arab, which is the river following the merge of the Euphrates and the Tigris, to view the sunset. 

Dinner and overnight in Basra   
Accommodation: Horizon Hotel (or similar) 
Transportation: 2 Hours driving time / 60 Kilometers 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner    

Day 10: Basra / Depart

Transfer to the airport for flights back home 
Departure Flight