Animals and Plants
What is growing in Iraq?
In Iraq, forest areas can only be found in the north. Oak, beech and maple trees grow here. There are also shrubs, herbs and spices.
On the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, reeds and various grasses grow. There are also date palms and willows. The further south you go, the less overgrown the land is. Only plants that have been able to adapt to these living conditions, such as yarrow or tamarisk, thrive in the deserts of Iraq.
Which animals live in Iraq?
Up until the beginning of the 19th century, many animals lived in Iraq, including lions. But the destruction of the environment and the wars in Iraq have severely depleted species populations. Today you may still be able to spot some species of birds such as hawks, buzzards, ravens or owls. However, eagles and vultures have almost or completely disappeared. However, efforts are being made to re-create a home for extinct animal species.
Among mammals, there are foxes and wild boars and, with luck, jackals to be discovered. However, the fish species are diverse: carp, bream and catfish are not uncommon in Iraq. However, the Iraqis do not eat fish that often, but mostly only on festive days or on specific festive occasions.
Oil doesn’t make everyone rich
Oil and gas are the most important natural resources the country possesses. More sources are being sought, especially in the north, in an area where many Kurds live. The revenues from the sale of oil and gas make up the largest share of total government revenues, which is not without its problems. Iraq remains heavily dependent on the price that is paid for oil and natural gas. If prices go down, the state’s income will decrease. However, it is estimated that Iraq has the fifth largest oil reserves in the world. Check shoppingpicks to see more articles about this country and Middle East.
The economic situation in Iraq is bad. Many people are unemployed and the education system, which was once a very good one in Iraq, almost no longer exists. The national debtIraq is high. This means that the Iraqi state has to borrow money again and again in order to be able to provide for its citizens.
How is everyday life?
Those who live in Baghdad can go about their work quite normally on some days. Then there are days again when the risk of being hit by an assassin’s bomb is high. Again and again there are explosions that frighten people. The security situation has continued to deteriorate since 2012. The violence in the country is omnipresent – for the adults, but also for the children.
The security situation can change at any time
The security situation in Iraq keeps changing. Non-endangered areas can quickly become endangered regions. Nevertheless, Iraqis pursue their leisure activities. They go to the mountains or into the country and picnic with the family. Cars can be seen on the streets, people have to get to work somehow. The checks by the police or the military on the streets are noticeable.
But it is actually nowhere really safe. The police often do not have the ability to really protect people. But many people somehow try to forget this in order to be able to live their everyday life.
There are more things to buy again
The supply of the people in Iraq is very different. The situation is safer in the country than in the big cities. You can now buy clothes, groceries and medicines again. Maybe not everything and not always what you want, but markets or small shops offer some goods. But the prerequisite for this is of course that people can also pay for the goods. Those who cannot afford the goods have to do without them despite the offer.
Playing soccer is popular in Iraq, especially among boys. You can find boys playing football everywhere in Iraq. For girls, sporting leisure activities are much more difficult to find.
Women in Iraq
Women face many restrictions in Iraq. A woman who walks around without a headscarf is often approached by men. In order not to be unnecessarily bothered, many women submit. That may not be the case everywhere and always, but it is a bitter experience for some women.
Many Iraqis are still fashion conscious. In Iraq, for example, you will find women with headscarves and long clothing who wear high heels. To bring variety to their clothes, they also like to wear colorful headscarves. But the stronger the conservative forces become, the more restricted women live in Iraq.
Living in regions that are occupied by IS
In regions dominated by IS, women have to wear a full-body veil, the niqab. When women and men walk the streets together, they may be checked and have to show their marriage certificate. The requirements to leave the house are strict. Women almost no longer have any rights here.
Eating in Iraq
Cuisine in the north and south of Iraq
In Iraq, the cuisine in the north is very different from the cuisine in the south. Due to the diversity of the climate, very different plants grow in the regions and the north is much more fertile than the south.
Rice dishes determine the south and those with wheat the north. Bulgur is usually made from this wheat. The cuisine of the Kurds is the cuisine of the north, but here too the cuisine differs depending on the region. There is also a separate Kurdish kitchen. By the way, bulgur stands for simple cuisine, rice is seen as much more valuable.
Fish fried on a spit
In the south, dates, apricots and pomegranates are popular on the menu. Fish is also very popular. A fish dish called smak masquf is sometimes referred to as a national dish. The basis of this meal are river mullets, a type of fish that is roasted on a stick over fire and then placed on the hot ash again to cook. You can see how this fish is prepared in the photo opposite.
What exactly is “Kubba”?
A well-known dish in Iraq is called Kubba. This is a type of dumpling made from the aforementioned bulgur and meat. This dish is otherwise known as kibbeh in the Middle East. Sometimes rice is used instead of bulgur. In many Arab countries, this dish is often used under different names, but with the same ingredients.
A porridge made from grain
Also popular in Iraq is a cereal porridge called harissa. In Iraq this pulp is known as Halim. The basis is wheat grains, which are roughly ground, soaked and then cooked for many hours. In addition, there is meat that is cut into small pieces. Mostly it is lamb, but sometimes it is chicken, depending on what is available. In some countries, including Iraq, sugar and cinnamon are sprinkled over them.
Bread dipped in sauce!
Many of Iraq’s dishes come from traditional Arabic cuisine. This also includes Tharid, also called Tashrib. This meal consists of boiled meat and bread. Tharid is also found in other countries and has even spread to China and Spain. The bread is dipped into the meat broth and eaten with the meat. There are many variations of this dish.
What do you drink in Iraq?
Iraq is a Muslim country, which means that people are not allowed to drink alcohol. At least in the past, not everyone took it that seriously. A schnapps called “Arak” and made from anise was often served on the table. Since more and more conservative and traditional forces have established themselves in Iraq, many people have completely stopped drinking liquor. The consumption of schnapps is no longer allowed. Coffee and tea are just as popular drinks in Iraq.