Akre in Kurdistan: The Oldest Inhabited Town of The World

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Moving to a new country every two years

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Akre in Kurdistan, tucked away in the north of Iraq, is a beautiful place that hasn’t been seen by too many tourists.

The town is just one hour driving north of Erbil. It is believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited villages in the world. It was built around 580 B.C. Today, there are over 200.000 residents.

The local people were so kind to give us a tour through this magnificent town.

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Making Music Together in Akre, Kurdistan

If I would have to use one word to describe the Kurdisch people, it’s friendly. They are so welcoming and kind. We were invited to a restaurant with a view over the town.

We looked around for a bit, took some photos and talked to the restaurant owner. After a half an hour we sat down and one guy of the group had a Kurdisch instrument, a so-called lute. He started to sing, and the people form the other tables joined in!

Learning New Dance Moves

Then the dance moves came! Everyone had to hold each other’s pinky finger, stand in a line and do two steps to the right and then one step back to the left. Apparently, this is a very common dance in Kurdistan. It’s just amazing to have this chill relaxed vibe and experience with people you barely even know.

The Market

There’s a small market right below the restaurant where we had dinner at. It’s a nice place to walk around and of course, we had to drink tea, with loooots of suger! there’s no escaping from it in Kurdistan… But the tea is so strong that you kind of have to put in a lot of sugar because the taste is quite bitter.

The market was decorated with these picturesque colorful stones and lights and there were local merchants wearing local outfits that made the scenery look like a movie scene in a middle eastern movie.

And once again, the people were really welcoming in Akre and in Kurdistan. They don’t try to sell you anything you can just walk around, have a look and drink some tea.

Golden mosque

Actually, I can’t remember what it was exactly, and I couldn’t find it anywhere online. So much for writing a travel blog! Nevertheless, near the market there is a square with a small golden mosque in the middle.

Local Kurdish food in Akre

We were so busy with the pinky dance and singing that we forgot that we were going to have a local meal here. Then, dinner was ready. They prepared a big table completely filled with salads, and two huge pans with rice and meat. Kind of like a Kurdish paella!

There were these balls of leaves wrapped around rice and lamb meat called dolma. Originally, it’s a Turkish name and it’s found in many different forms across the Middle East, Turkey, the Balkans, and Central Asia. Dolma has been a fundamental dish of Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries. It’s even found in cookbooks before the Ottoman Empire.

I Love Akre

I thought this was very cute, Akre is a small town but they had the famous I Love … sign. Coming from I Love New York obviously and to see it in this small town was quite funny and charming.


After visiting the center of the town we were invited to someone’s house. We were invited because there was a cave below his house.

It’s quite odd if someone asks you, do you want to see the cave below my house? A strange question! It’s funny that normally I would answer with uhm no thank you!

But we said yes let’s see the cave. Read the full story here.

How to get to Akre?

It’s possible to take a taxi from Erbil to Akre in Kurdistan. There is an app like Uber called Careem and it works super easy. Fill in your destination and the app will do the rest. You can pay in cash when the taxi drops you off.

Fun fact, the taxi drivers really appreciate it if you sit in the front seat. It’s a great moment to have a conversation with the locals to hear all about the ins and outs of Erbil and surrounding cities.

Read more about Akre in Kurdistan in this in-depth article from Kurdistan 24

F.A.Q. Akre in Kurdistan

When it comes to travel safety: Akre, is a safe place, very low crime, but closer to the borders of Türkiye it is not safe. Travel with a local to be safe.

Spring and October are ideal times to visit Akre because of the comfortable temperatures. Winter time, unlike Erbil, can be quite cold because the town is in the mountains.

There is only a ‘visa on arrival’ requirement for entry into Kurdistan which cost around 7o dollar.

The trip is about 1,5 hours. With the app Waze it is easy to get the right route.

A man standing on top of a sand dune with his arms outstretched.

About the author

Chris Oberman is the founder and author of Moving Jack and has been traveling the world for over 20 years to 40+ countries.

He lives in a different country every two years which allows him to gain unique in-depth insights and experiences in new places abroad.

Quoted on Gritdaily.com, NRC Newspaper, Vice,and Feedspot.

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