Tourism Booming in Alqosh: Thousands of Tourists During Eid

Foreign and local tourists at the Alqosh Museum, Nineveh, Spring 2024. Museum Media

By Ammar Aziz

The tourism sector in the Alqosh district of the Nineveh Plain is witnessing a gradual recovery, thanks to the archaeological sites, museums, and tourist facilities for which the region is famous.

Five thousand tourists visited Bandawya Resort during the four days of Eid Al-Fitr, the highest number following the war against the extremist militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS.

IS militants did not reach the center of the Alqosh sub-district of Tel Kayf district in 2014, so the destruction did not extend to its archaeological sites and summer resorts.

 In Alqosh, there is the Bandawya Resort, the Alqosh Folklore Museum, the Shrine of Nahum, the Monastery of Rabban Hormuz, and the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, in addition to the old village of Alqosh, which was rehabilitated with a heritage design that attracts tourists.

Joseph Shammas, director of the Alqosh Museum, told KirkukNow, “Since the beginning of this year up to today, over 500 tourists from European countries, Arab countries, and from within Iraq have visited our museum, and this number is greater than last year. Tourists have visited other places such as Deir al-Rabban, Hormuz, ancient Alqosh, and Nahum's shrine.”


Ancient Alqosh was rebuilt with a folkloric design. Ammar Aziz


“Alqosh is a historically important region, and the government must pay more attention to it, especially its archaeological sites and tourist sites, to attract more tourists. In turn, we informed thousands of tourists about the history and heritage of our region so that they know that Alqosh is historically and touristically rich.”

The founding of Alqosh (40 km north of Mosul) dates back to the seventh century BC, and it is now a sub-district affiliated with the Tel Kayf District in the Nineveh Plain. It includes three compounds and 83 villages, home to over 50,000 people, most of whom are Christian, in addition to Muslims, Ezidis (Yazidis), and Shabaks.

The town, one of the disputed areas Between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG, has passed through tough times yet has never affected its identity for peaceful coexistence, a characteristic it has acquired in years that made it a symbol for freedom of religion and cohabitation.


A selfie of a group of tourists inside the Alqosh Museum, Nineveh, Spring of 2024. Museum media

Bandawya is one of the picturesque resorts and has become a tourist center that brings together people of diverse religious components.

Sabri Boutani, the owner of a casino in the Bandawya resort, told KirkukNow, “In total, about 15,000 tourists come to this resort during the summer months, most of them from inside Iraq. This is not a big number compared to other tourist areas, but it is excellent for Alqosh.”

"As for other places, such as the Monastery of Rabban Hormuz, ancient Alqosh, and the Shrine of Nahum, most of the tourists are foreigners."

The restoration of the Al-Qush old village started in September 2018. The houses have been restored to their old structure for USD120,000 donated by locals, key social figures, churches, and the head of the renovation project.

There are seven churches in Al-Qush, 30 sites and shrines of Ezidis, and over 10 mosques of Muslims.

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