Asian Countries

Iraq Travel Guide

GENERAL

Official name of the state

Republic of Iraq.

Capital

Baghdad.

Geography

Iraq, a country located in Middle East according to travelationary, borders Turkey, Iran, the Persian Gulf, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria. There is a neutral zone between Saudi Arabia and Iraq that is administered jointly. Iraq’s share is 3522 square kilometers. The most notable stretch of land is the Mesopotamian land of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, which flow from the Turkish and Syrian borders in the north to the Persian Gulf in the south. The northeast is mountainous, the west consists of desert. The rivers are surrounded by fertile plains. However, large areas with no irrigation control are flooded and have turned into swamps.

Government

Parliamentary republic. New constitution from 2005. General election April 2014, new government sworn in in September. Independent from the United Kingdom since 1932.

Head of state

Fuad Masum, since July 2014.

Head of government

Haider al-Abadi, since August 2014.

Electricity

230 V, 50 Hz. Various connector types. Adapter is recommended.

Time zone

Arabia Standard Time: CET +4

Iraq Travel Guide

MONEY

Currency

1 Iraqi dinar. Currency abbreviation: ID, IQD (ISO code). Banknotes are in circulation with a value of 25,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 250, 50 ID, coins in the nominal amounts 100 and 25 ID.
The new Iraqi dinar is printed in a forgery-proof manner.

Credit cards

Are in general accepted as a method of payment in larger shops and restaurants. Visa is the most widely accepted.

The Iraqi Warka Bank has 350 ATMs in 120 branches across the country. A map of these branches is available at http://www.warka-bank.com.

ATMs

ec / Maestro card / Sparcard

Attention: Travelers who pay with their bank card abroad and want to withdraw money should find out about the possibilities of using their card from their bank before starting their journey.

EC cards with the Maestro symbol are sometimes also accepted as a means of payment in restaurants. Withdrawal ATMs can be found in all major cities.

Bank opening times

Sa-Wed 8 a.m.-12 p.m., Thu 8 a.m.-11 a.m. Banks close at 10 a.m. during Ramadan and religious holidays.

Foreign exchange regulations

No information on current currency regulations is currently available. Likewise, no reliable information on the current exchange rates can be given at the moment, as no large organizations or financial institutions trade in the Iraqi dinar. The information is based on the official values.

The import and export of the local currency is not permitted. Unrestricted importation of foreign currencies, declaration obligation (Israeli currency is prohibited). Foreign currency can be exported up to the amount declared, minus the demonstrably exchanged amounts.

(Different regulations apply to Iraqis and foreigners residing in Iraq.)

Currency Exchange

In certain duty-free shops in Baghdad, purchases in foreign currencies up to a value of US $ 200 can be made within 20 days of entering the country on presentation of the passport. Hotel bills must be paid in hard currency (US dollars, euros) at the nearest Rafidain bank.

LANGUAGE

Overview

The official languages are Arabic and Kurdish. Bedouin dialects are also spoken in the southwest, and sometimes Turkish in the north. Azerbaijani and Aramaic are also spoken in some areas. Foreign languages are rarely mastered.

 

DUTY-FREE SHOPPING

Overview

No current information on duty-free regulations is currently available. The following quantities for duty-free entry in hand luggage are guidelines:

200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco;
1 bottle of spirits and 1 bottle of wine (not more than 1 l together);
Up to 2 opened bottles of perfume (not more than 500 ml together).

Prohibited imports

Western magazines, cell phones, laptops, binoculars, typewriters, electrical appliances, plants and fruits of all kinds, fresh and dried meat and dairy products.

Prohibited exports

Valuables or electronic devices acquired in Iraq that were not declared upon entry. The illegal export of antiquities (including small pieces) can be punished with drastic penalties up to the death penalty.

ECONOMY

Business etiquette

Business cards are common, e.g. Some of them are printed in Arabic and English. During business meetings, non-business issues are also often addressed.

Opening hours

Business hours: Sa-Thu 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Friday is the weekly day off and the shops are usually closed. The opening times may be shorter during Ramadan.

Economy

Arab-German Association for Trade and Industry eV
Garnisonkirchplatz 1, D-10178 Berlin
Tel: (030) 278 90 70.
Internet: www.ghorfa.de

Austrian-Arab Chamber of Commerce
Lobkowitzplatz 1, A-1015 Vienna
Tel: (01) 513 39 65.
Internet: www.aacc.at

Business contacts

Arab-German Association for Trade and Industry eV
Garnisonkirchplatz 1, D-10178 Berlin
Tel: (030) 278 90 70.
Internet: www.ghorfa.de

Austrian-Arab Chamber of Commerce
Lobkowitzplatz 1, A-1015 Vienna
Tel: (01) 513 39 65.
Internet: www.aacc.at

COMMUNICATION

Phone

The country code is 00964 and the city code for Baghdad is 01. Iraq has a ramshackle telephone network and telephone communication takes place predominantly via cell phones.

Cellphone

GSM 900. The cities are in the reception and transmission range. International roaming contracts exist.

Internet

There are more and more internet cafes, especially in Baghdad.

Post Office

Airmail to Europe takes 5-10 days, many times longer. Shipments by land do not always reach their destination.

Radio

Since the use of shortwave frequencies changes several times over the course of a year, it is advisable to contact Deutsche Welle customer service directly (Tel: (+49) (0228) 429 32 08. Internet: www.dw-world.de) to request.

SHOP

Overview

Copper goods, silver items, spices, colorful carpets and rugs are sold in the traditional markets in Baghdad. In Baghdad, the bustling copper market is the center of the action. The coppersmiths hammer vessels into artistic shapes to order. Shop opening times: i. A. Sa-Thu 8.30 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

NIGHTLIFE

Introduction

In Baghdad and other cities there are nightclubs with cabaret, music and dance, as well as cinemas, theaters and bars.

CULINARY

ACCOMMODATION

Hotels

Are primarily geared towards business travelers. The number of modern hotel rooms is limited, advance booking is strongly recommended. The prices of the exclusive hotels are set by the government. There are also smaller and cheaper hotels, but the standard is noticeably lower. Hotel bills must be paid in foreign currency, 10% service charge will be charged.

CULTURE

Religion

97% Muslim (60% Shiite and 45% Sunnis); Druze, Yazidi, Mandaean and Christian minorities.

Social rules of conduct

Etiquette: Iraq is a culturally rich country with a long and eventful history. Today the traditional Islamic culture prevails and the religious laws of the Koran determine the daily routine. As a visitor, it is advisable to respect religious customs; this also includes wearing restrained clothing. Hosts should always be addressed by their title and full name. Traditional Arabic style hospitality is also an Islamic law.

Taking photos: Government facilities and all buildings and events that are not accessible to visitors may i. General not be photographed. Locals are often reluctant to be photographed, as Islam forbids depicting people and animals in any form. In case of doubt, no photo should be taken.

Tip: 10-15% in the restaurant. Taxi drivers do not expect tips.

CLIMATE

Best travel time

Desert and steppe climate, very hot and dry in summer, cool in winter with little rainfall. Humid near the gulf and dry inland. Frequent desert winds and storms all year round. The weather is most pleasant between late autumn and mid-spring.

COUNTRY DATA

Area code +964 Area (square km) 438 317 Population 37 056 169 Population density (per square km) 85 Population in 2015 Member of the EU No main emergency number 122