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Monday 24th June
Iraq Information - Page 1
The Republic of Iraq is in the Middle East, bordered by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran and the Persian Gulf.

Baghdad is the capital city. Basrah and Umm Qasr are the main ports. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers flow through Iraq to meet at the Shatt al Arab which drains into the Persian Gulf.

The terrain consists of plains, some marshland, and mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey.

Summers are hot and winters can be cold.

Iraq suffers from desertification and salination of the soil. Water is scarce and plant life sparse. Areas around the Tigris and the Euphrates are the most fertile. Lakes include the Habbaniya and the Dokan.

Water birds inhabit the marshy land near the Persian Gulf. Small animals such as the jerboa are found in the desert regions.

Known as the Cradle of Civilization Iraq has many ancient cities.

Hatra, a fortified city on the World Heritage List, dates back to the Parthian Empire. The city of Ashur, also on the List, was inhabited in the third millennium BC.

Other ancient cities are Babylon, Baghdad, Mosul, Nimrud and Ninevah.

Islamic architecture developed in Iraq from the seventh century. Two of Iraq's important religious buildings are the Mosque of Iman Ali in Najaf near Kufa and the shrine of Iman El-Hussein Ibn Ali in Karbala. (2003)

The population of Iraq was estimated at 30,399,572 in 2011.

Arabic is the main language. Kurdish is the official language in the Kurdish regions of Iraq.

Islam is the official religion in Iraq.

The cuisine of Iraq has been influenced by bordering countries, especially Iran and Turkey which have occupied the country at different times.

Soups and stews are prepared with vegetables and meat. Beef, lamb, poultry, and fish are eaten with rice and vegetables: aubergines, beans, chickpeas, lentils, okra, onions, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. Recipes for stuffed vegetables are popular; lamb is also stuffed and roasted. Another traditional dish is spiced minced meat with nuts and raisins. Kebabs, usually made with lamb, are a favourite meal and flat white bread is a staple food.

Pastries are prepared with almond and date fillings and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Baklava is a popular pastry with layers of nuts and honey. Other desserts are made with milk, cream and rice.

Tea is served with lemon and coffee is preferred strong and sweet. A traditional yoghurt drink is often served.

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