Should you visit Zakho


Ever heard of Zakho? Probably not, if you are going there though we can recommend what to do, where to eat and indeed where to stay!

I was to find this out less through choice and more through both need and a fairly impressive Kurdish guide……

What the Zakho?

Zakho is an Iraqi Kurdish city also known as Zavo that is extremely cultural and geographically import to the Kurds. Rise from that there is a cool bazar here, beautiful lakes and bridges, as well a reputation for partying.

Apparently Zakho is the place to be for Nowruz or Persian New Year.Therefore it is a bit of a hit for Arabian tourists, particularly those transiting overland to Turkey.

Geography of Zakho

Zakho sits most closely to the Turkish border crossing, but that of Syria, or perhaps more to the point Rojava the Kurdish/Anarchist part of Syria. And to cut a long story short this is what led me here!

It is this location that has also made it an economic hub that has attracted workers from other parts of Kurdistan, Turkey (I am not doing Türkiye), as well as the numerous refugees from the war in Syria. Thankfully for Syria Damascus still has aa great nightlife.

Zakho is roughly 3 hours from the capital of Erbil, including stops for a kebab and a coffee.

Where to stay in Zakho – Shabani Suite Hotel

While this is not a city that many people do stay in, at least westerners it is still a neat little place. I personally stayed at Shabani Hotel, where I pretty much got a suite for $30. I have not yet seen what the twin room is like, but I am lightly excited to see what it is.

Was it as good as my hotel in Hue, probably not

Shabani Hotel is located on the south side of Zakho Bazaar. This is pretty much where all the best hotels are, although with it being a big city there are certainly more than a few options.

What to do in Zokha

OK, so I have put two together that would usually fly solo, this is because I did not spend as much time here as I would have liked,, but also because Zakho is not exactly a Mecca either.

There are though cute things like the Zakho Bridge, some other bridges and Shahidan Park. For context though a mall is 7th on the must see sites of Zokha…..

Drinking and eating in Zokha

As you might expect there is not much a bar scene in Zokha, but there are Christians, so therefore one can buy booze. And boy do the liquor stores of Zokha do great booze.

If though you love shish and coffee than you will be all good, particularly in and around the bazaar.

Eating wise things were a bit more eclectic though and consists of the things you might expect, such as Zokha Street Food. And although it is not street food Zokha per se it consists of cafes, restaurants and small shawarma shops particularly around the bazaar.

Zokha Bazaar also has its own gems, such as spice shops and lots and lots of Arab style candies, as well as even a cool dark chocolate gig.

The best restaurant that I found though was Ciragan Restaurant slightly on the outskirts which is seemingly as popular with locals as well as Arabian tourists! – Yes and article is to come…