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25 Surprising Facts About Iraq!

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Given that most people are relatively unfamiliar with the country, there are many surprising facts about Iraq. What what is it that makes this country so fascinating? Read on to find out!

Surprising Facts About Iraq 

It is mind-blowing how our Earth is filled with captivating and diverse countries. Iraq is one of the countries that will definitely leave you amazed.

Located in the heart of the Middle East, Iraq is filled with vibrant culture, ancient wonders, and rich heritage that will leave you in awe! 

But wait, picture this: You’ve entered the land where history and modernism collide. You walk through the streets and you’re greeted with warm smiles and heartwarming hospitality. Well, that’s Iraq for you! 

If you want to know more, read these intriguing facts about Iraq. 

1. Iraq Was the Cradle of Civilisation 

25 Surprising Facts About Iraq!

This may come as a surprise to you, but Iraq was a part of Mesopotamia, one of the oldest civilisations in the world. 

Since present-day Iraq was in between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, it was known to be home to a lot of farmers. As the land was fertile, the whole region was known as the Fertile Crescent.

2. The History Behind the Mittian Empire 

Do you want to hear some astonishing facts about Iraq?

A city of the Mittian Empire was uncovered due to extreme droughts in Iraq. It is said to be more than 3000 years old and a part of the Bronze Age! 

Many archaeologists believe that the city was hidden due to the floods which took place in the 80s.

3. Iraq Has the Oldest Writing 

These historical facts about Iraq never fail to surprise me! 

Southern Mesopotamia is the home of the cuneiform script, which was created to record the Sumerian language. It is one of the old forms of writing coming from Iraq! This language came before the hieroglyphics you see in Egypt

4. Look at The Underground Tunnels in Baghdad

25 Surprising Facts About Iraq!

Yes, that’s right, I am talking about underground tunnels in the capital of Iraq! You’ll find lots of underground tunnels that stretch for kilometres. 

These tunnels were built for Saddam Hussein for storing fuel and to use as protection against any threats. You’ll see that these tunnels have a recreation room, kitchen room, swimming pool, and much more.

5. The Superstition Of The Black Cat Originated In Iraq

Here’s one of the surprising facts about Iraq.

A lot of people believe that the superstition that the black cat brings bad luck mainly comes from Iraq. 

However, you may come across other sources that can claim that this superstition originated from the Greeks in Germany. But, as you walk down the streets of Iraq you will notice that everyone there believes in this superstition. 

6. You Cannot Leave On An Empty Stomach

Here are some hospitality facts about Iraq! 

Since the people of Iraq are so hospitable, they will never let you leave their house and any place for that matter, on an empty stomach. 

Since food is a very important part of their culture, it is also rude to deny eating anything at all in Iraq.

7. Try Masgouf, Iraq’s Local Food

Arabic cuisine never disappoints! So, here are some food-related facts about Iraq. 

One of the dishes in Iraq that you must try is the slow-grilled fish called Masgouf. This is one of the most popular dishes that you will find throughout Iraq. 

This particular dish generally takes a lot of time to cook. So, if you ever get the chance to eat this, you must try it! 

8. There Is Only One Nobel Prize Winner From Iraq

The endless facts about Iraq and its amazing people will make you fall in love with them!

Nadia Murad won the Nobel Prize in 2018 for stopping sexual violence as a weapon during war and other armed conflict. She is also known for taking ISIS to court. 

Due to her bravery, she was able to save the lives of many and hence she was awarded as a Nobel Prize Winner!

25 Surprising Facts About Iraq!

9. Iraq Is One Of The Biggest Oil Producer In The World

Iraq has the 5th largest oil reserves in the entire world! In 2018, it produced around 150 million barrels of oil. 

10. Iraq Shares a Border With 6 Countries

This is yet another one of the mind-blowing facts about Iraq!

It’s fascinating to learn that Iraq shares its borders with not just one, two, or three, but with six different countries including Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey! 

11. The Iran-Iraq War Landmarks

These facts about Iraq are for history lovers. 

You must’ve already heard about the tragic Iran-Iraq war. But did you know that more of the landmarks from this war are commemorated in Iraq? 

Some of these landmarks include the Martyr’s Monument and the Victory Arch which is located in Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq. 

12. Iraq has 6 UNESCO Sites

Prepare to be amazed because Iraq is home to a total of six UNESCO World Heritage Sites! 

These sites have been recognized for their outstanding universal value and are proof of Iraq’s rich cultural heritage and historical significance.

These UNESCO sites include the Erbil Citadel, Ahwar, Hatra, Samarra Archaeological City, Ashur, and Babylon. If you ever plan to make a trip to Iraq (keep in mind the safety precautions), you must make sure that you visit at least one of these UNESCO sites. 

13. The Largest Mosques – In Samarra Archaeological City

The Samarra Archaeological City in Iraq is home to some of the largest mosques in the world. It’s a remarkable site that showcases the architectural grandeur and historical significance of the Abbasid period.

Also, this is something that you should not miss since it has two of the largest mosques, Al-Malwiya and Abu Dulaf, with unique and mesmerizing minarets. 

On top of this, you will also find that this site has some of the biggest palaces in the world of Islam. 

14. Islam Is The Most Common Religion

25 Surprising Facts About Iraq!

The majority of the population in Iraq indeed follows the Islamic faith. Islam plays a significant role in the country’s culture, traditions, and daily life of its people.

Around 95-98 per cent of the population in Iraq follow Islam. 

15. You’ll Find a Variety Of Scorpions In Iraq

If you can’t stand being around Scorpions, I suggest you think twice before going to Iraq! 

The vast Iraqi desert is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including a wide variety of scorpions. These unique creatures have adapted to thrive in the harsh desert environment, making the desert ecosystem their natural habitat.

You can find a variety of unique scorpions roaming around the deserts in Iraq. 

Also, some of these scorpions can grow more than 8 inches long! So, if you ever visit the desert anywhere in Iraq you need to make sure that you stay safe. This applies even if you are going to spot some wildlife. 

16. Iraq Is Still In Recovery

Let’s discuss some of the tragic facts about Iraq. 

Iraq has faced significant challenges and continues to recover from the aftermath of conflicts and instability especially in terms of its infrastructure. 

Apart from that, there is a lot of unemployment (around 15%) throughout the country. 

Iraq is still picking up the pieces after the conflicts it has faced, but let’s not overlook the incredible resilience and potential of its people. 

17. The Name “Iraq” Means Fertile

For trivia lovers, you should know these facts about Iraq! 

The name “Iraq” translates to “Fertile”. 

The meaning perfectly fits the name when you think about the very first fact that I discussed about Iraq being the Fertile Crescent. 

Unfortunately, Iraq has been facing a lot of climate change and droughts in the past couple of years due to the conflicts in the country.  

18. Mosul Was an Important City for Learning in Iraq

There was a time when Iraq was one of the most learned countries. 

Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq today, was an important learning centre for science and arts. The city attracted many intellectuals like scientists, scholars, artists, and many more.

19. The World’s Oldest Long Poem Comes From Iraq

Here is one of the facts about Iraq I bet you didn’t know!

The Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest long poem in the world comes from Mesopotamia (old Iraq). 

This poem was actually written somewhere between 2,150 and 1,400 BC. You can read this poem even today if you’re interested to find out what it is mainly about. The theme surrounds the tale of the king of ancient Mesopotamia. 

20. Iran Has Been a Target For Many Conflicts

These facts about Iraq prove that the country is strong enough to withstand everything it’s been through!

Iraq has unfortunately been the target of numerous conflicts throughout its history and it is still trying to recover from all of it. 

The country has seen a lot of challenges and instability due to wars, coalitions, dictatorships, and many more things. 

You will notice that despite going through so many hardships, the loving and generous spirit of the Iraqis has not gone away.

21. Iraq Got Independence in 1932

Iraq went through different rulers like the Muslims, Ottomans, and British, and finally became an independent kingdom. 

In the mid-7th century, the Muslims dominated Mesopotamia and declared the region as Iraq. 

After this, the Ottoman Empire took over Iraq from 1534 to 1704 and again between 1831 and 1920. From 1704 to 1831, a different group of people called the Mamluks began to rule over Iraq. 

However, during World War I, the British took control of Iraq from the Ottomans from 1920 to 1932. On October 3rd, 1932 Iraq got its independence from the British.

22. Iraq’s Flag Features The Takbir

25 Surprising Facts About Iraq!

The flag of Iraq has three stripes: red, white, and black.

The colour red comes from a time when the Khawarij had a movement. They had a red flag, and it became a symbol for them.

The colour white represents a different time when the Umayyad Caliphate ruled over Iraq. 

The colour black is a very old colour that comes from the Rashidun Caliphate and Muhammad’s banner.

Lastly, there’s a green colour in the middle of the flag. It comes from another Caliphate called the Fatimid Caliphate. There is a special phrase written in green called the Takbir that says “Allah is the greatest” in Arabic.

23. You May Find Noah’s Ark In Iraq

According to traditions, people believe that Prophet Noah/Nuh built his ark in the city of Kufa in Iraq

As mentioned in the Quran, God communicated with Noah and commanded him to construct a massive boat called the Ark. 

He was told to fill the Ark with pairs of every animal species, as well as his own family and a group of people who believed in God. This was because God was going to send a great flood to cleanse the Earth. 

When the flood finally arrived, it submerged the entire land, drowning all those who had rejected Noah’s message. This included one of Noah’s sons who did not believe in him.

24. The Official Language of Iraq is Arabic

Let’s discuss some language-related facts about Iraq.

In Iraq, you’ll come across a majority of people who speak only Arabic as it is the official language of the country! However, you will notice that there are various dialects of Arabic too. 

Around one-fifth of the population speaks Kurdish, which is the official language in the Kurdish Autonomous Region in the north. 

Smaller ethnic groups speak languages like Turkish, Turkmen, Azerbaijanian, and Syriac, while Persian is not commonly spoken anymore. 

Bilingualism, especially in Arabic, is common among minorities. English is also widely used in business.

25. It is the 4th Most-Populated Country In The Middle East

Here are some population-related facts about Iraq.

As you walk down the streets of Iraq, you will notice that the majority of the population is young. 40% of people are under 15 years old and two-thirds are under 30. 

The country has a high birth rate making it the fourth largest country in the middle east, followed by Iran, Egypt, and Turkey. The current population of Iraq stands at around 42.24 million.

Facts About Iraq – Further Reading

As you may have read above, Iraq is known for a lot of things including its rich heritage, culture, and infrastructure. 

Sadly, the constant wars and an unstable government have ruined the beauty of Iraq and its people. So, I hope these facts about Iraq helped you look beyond its war-ridden exterior.

You can also check out other similar articles if you enjoyed reading facts about Iraq!

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