View ھەولێر Hawler (اربيل Erbil) in a larger map
The city name Arbil appears non-Semitic: the initial aris common to many Hurrian place names. Arbil was mentioned in Sumerian holy writings as Arbilum, Orbelum or Urbilum. Later, Akkadians rendered the name as arba'ū ilū, meaning four gods, based on similarity and folk etymology. A small population of Assyrian Christians (about 15,000) live mostly in suburbs such as Ankawa.
|Early Settlement||The city was settled as early as the 23rd century BC, and confined to the present location of the citadel by a city wall. Please read the history of the citadel for Hawler's pre-modern history.|
|Kurdish Region||1970||The parliament of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region was established in Arbil in 1970, but it was effectively under Hussein's control until the 1991 Kurdish uprising.|
|al-Anfal and Civil War||Arbil was captured by the KDP in 1996 with the assistance of the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein.|
|US-Led Liberation||2003||During the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, a United States special forces task force was headquartered just outside of Arbil. The city was the scene of rapturous celebrations on April 10, 2003 after the fall of Baghdad. Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, only isolated, sporadic violence has hit Arbil, unlike many other areas of Iraq.|
|US Occupation of Iraq||2000s||Parallel bomb attacks against the Eid celebrations arranged by the PUK and KDP killed 109 people on February 1, 2004. Responsibility was claimed by the Islamist group Ansar al-Sunnah, and stated to be in solidarity with the Kurdish Islamist faction Ansar al-Islam. Another bombing on May 4, 2005 killed 60 civilians. Despite these bombings the population generally feels safe.|
|Kurdish Renaissance||A surge in foreign investment and an expanding domestic economy have led to enormous development in the Kurdistan Region, and especially at Hawler. Hawler is filled with beautiful parks. The fountains at the city center have kaleidoscopic, shifting colors at night. The streets are busy, crowded, with a mix of old mud-brick, dated cement and new glassy buildings. Industry and new construction have exploded in Hawler, flooding it with new business and construction. But turn down any side-street and you’ll be lost in a bazaar or the capillary network of ancient, narrow residential streets.|
Located on the citadel is the Kurdish Textile Museum.
Sami Abdul Rahman
Stretching over many hectares, is the ideal place to enjoy greenery, peace and quiet without having to leave the city.
There is an ATM at the Hotel Sheraton in Erbil -- some say it works, though I have not verified this. There are also two ATMs on Iskan street, just south of the Sheraton. Wakar Bank is said to work also, though it charges $5 USD per transaction. Also, Dar Es Salaam is said to work (it is 70% owned by HSBC) and that is close to the New City shopping center. Western Union remains the most reliable option, and there is one in the Sheraton and at the city Ibrahim Khalil near the border.
|Rabban Beya||Rabban Beya monastery is a one-hour climb over mountain paths. There are two large highly engraved cave-like chambers that date back to the fourth century AD.|
|Khanzad Castle||On the Erbil - Shaqlawa road dates back to the Soran Period when the Region was ruled by several principalities.|
|Shaqlawa Resort||Shaqlawa Resort is 51 km north of Erbil and is a popular weekend and holiday destination with a great fresh produce market.|
|Gali Ali Beg||Gali Ali Beg ravine and waterfall is 130km from Erbil, a popular place for recreational picnics. Bekhal Resort is another water resort 140km from Erbil and a short drive from Gali Ali Berg.|
Hotels in Erbil
Single: 30000 IQD
I strongly disliked this hotel. When I arrived around 9PM in Hawler I hopped in a taxi and asked for the cheapest hotel. The driver took me to Hotel Sulaymaniyah, where I paid $25 for a tiny room (#104) and a cramped dirty shared bathroom. I had never been in Hawler before and felt I would was vulnerable to getting lost if I went traipsing around the city at night.
I decided to stay for one evening, placating myself by deciding I would check out first thing in the morning and search for a new hotel. Compounding my dismay, I was not even allowed to use the telephone to make a short local call. Furthermore, there was no breakfast and the owner seemed amused that I even asked about it.
هوتپَلى شاهان Hotel Shahan
Single: 30000 IQD
Across from the governorate is the Hotel Sharahan. As I climbed up the marble and granite staircase to reach the hotel reception, I had already resigned myself that the hotel would be out of my price range. To my delight I only paid $25 for a large clean room (#302) with a nice private bathroom, and an included egg-and-bread breakfast.
My view at Hotel Shahan was of a dark shaft, but other rooms had nice views. The service was slow and lazy, and though the owner allowed me to use the telephone he then insulted my friends when they tried to call me back.
هوتپَلى زهور Hotel Zhar
Single: 25000 IQD
Next to the Hotel Shahan is a little alleyway emanating from the sidewalk along Qalat Street; up this alleyway is the Hotel Zhar. The sleepy Hotel Zhar had a neglected air about it and the bathroom was damp and smelly, but the room (#207) itself was very comfortable and the service was lovely. I was allowed to use the telephone until unfortunately the service was terminated.
Erbil International Hotel
(30 Metre Street)
+964 (0)66 223 4460 – 70
Hawler Plaza Hotel
(Kirkuk Road, near Erbil Stadium)
+964 (0)66 222 8890 / (0)66 2519740 / (0)66 254 0050
(Salahaddin Road, about 25 minutes outside Erbil city centre)
+964 (0)66 2245273 / 74 / 76 / 77, and +964 (0)66 2505226
Chwar Chra Hotel (Abdul Salam Al-Barzani Street)
+964 (0)66 223 1508
(0)66 223 1509
(0)66 222 2650
Royal Palace Hotel
(60 Metre Street Opposite Ankawa bridge (overpass), near Mahhar Restaurant)
Arbil Tawer Hotel
+964 (0)66 222 6600 / 223 0094
Shereen Palace Hotel
+964 (0)66 222 6240 / 222 0915