The Mountain Village of Sulav, Kurdistan, Iraq

sulav kurdistan iraq

Downtown Sulav in Iraqi Kurdistan.

We ended up in the village of Sulav in the Kurdistan part of Iraq. It wasn’t the initial plan to visit Sulav, but we decided to hitch a ride there after exploring the amazing mountain village of Amadiya. We had enough time to have a look around Sulav, but we didn’t stay over. It seems like a cool place, that may one day become a popular tourist sight, here are a few photos and thoughts on what Sulav offers. It sits in the mountains in a dreamy location, and is a tiny village – it seemed to be just based around one main road!

sulav iraqi kurdistan

Central Sulav – it’s a very tiny village.

1. Great Mountain Views

You can see Amadiya from here – it sits proudly and loftily on the top of the adjacent mountain top. Sulav offers really great views.

sulav amadiya views

On a balcony in Sulav checking out the views of Amadiya!

Take your time to scale the edge of the village and admire the views. They are quite special. While you’re pretty close to the Turkey border, pinch yourself and remember you are in Iraq here. You didn’t expect this, did you?

sulav iraqi kurdistan

Loving the views in Sulav, Kurdistan, Iraq.

2. “Souvenir Shops”

Well Iraq doesn’t do souvenirs shops the way the rest of the world does, thankfully. But here in Sulav you can pick up a few Kurdish type souvenirs. Keyrings, badges and flags. A few roadside stalls are probably better for local kids though – toys and sweets are sold.

kids treats iraq

Sweets and treats for kids in Sulav, Kurdistan, Iraq.

3. Custom Built Waterfall

They kind of have the makings of a custom built flow of water here in a funky garden leading down from a cafe and hotel. Normally fake things like this aren’t my cup of tea – but the truth is we are in a country which has suffered a regime and where war is still going on – the fact they have developed things like a fake waterfall and miniature park are a healthy thing and a credit to the local Kurds.

fake waterfall sulav iraq

Backpacking in Iraq waterfall in Sulav Kurdistan.

4. Makeshift Tourist Resort

Yes, there’s a hotel here. We didn’t go inside, but for sure the fact that you can stay over means that this is a place that wants to be touristy.

touristy sulav backpacking in iraq

Backpacking in Iraqi Kurdistan – Sulav has the potential to be touristy

5. Markets

There’s a market area which includes a shopping area for food and also some restaurants. I didn’t see alcohol in Sulav, but I;d imagine you can get it somewhere.

sulav markets iraq

Market Stalls in tiny Sulav.

6. Proximity to Amadiya

Of course the main reason you came to Sulav was either on route to or on the way back from Amadiya – a really special mountain top village. While Sulav is its very very young and tiny brother, you’ll pass through it on route, so you might as well make a stop here.

sulav and amadiya

Amadiya as viewed from the village of Sulav.

7. Friendly Locals

We met a load of friendly people there in Sulav. Some wanted to pose for photos with us – they hadn’t seen foreigners before. Or looked as though they hadn’t!

iraqi kurdistan

Posing with the locals in Sulav, Kurdistan, Iraq.

Even the local Kurdish Police wanted to help us as they knew there wasn’t much public transport. But the icing on the cake was meeting Jehat, who gave us a free lift to Qadash, read point 8 below.

8. Hitch-hiking from Amadiya to Sulav then onto Qadash

It was a big surprise to learn that hitch hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan is not only very safe, but sometimes the ONLY WAY to get from place to place. There were certainly no bus routes.

hitch hiking in iraq

Panny roadside in Sulav trying to hitch hike back towards Duhok.

We hitched a ride from Amadiya to Sulav with a couple of locals. Then after touring Sulav for a bit, admiring the views and realising there wasn’t really a bus network here, we flagged down the cars and a local lad called Jehat stopped for us!

sulav to qadash hitch hiking

With Jehat, our driver who gave us a lift out of Sulav to Qadash.

And after meeting Jehat and hopping inside, we bid a fond farewell to the tranquil village of Sulav. If you get a chance it would be pretty cool to spend a night here!

sulav iraqi kurdistan

It was time to leave little Sulav behind…

Here are my videos from the village of Sulav:

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