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Study in Iraq - About Iraq




General Information


Population: 23,331,985 (July 2001 est.)

Capital: Baghdad

Independence: 3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

Ethnic groups: Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian or other 5%

Language: Eighty per cent Arabic, 15 per cent Kurdish. Assyrian and Armenian may also be spoken.

Map of Iraq
Courtesy of Google Maps

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Currency: : Iraqi Dinar (ID) = 20 dirhams = 1000 fils. Notes are in denominations of ID1000, 500, 250 and 100. Coins are now seldom used in view of rampant inflation in Iraq, but denominations of ID1 and a variety of fils exist. A large number of commemorative coins have also been minted, some for everyday circulation, others for collectors.

Religion: 32-37 per cent Sunni Muslim, 60-65 per cent Shia Muslim, with Druze and Christian minorities.

Time: GMT + 3 hours.
GMT + 4 during the summer.

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Various two- and three-pin plugs are in use. Electricity supplies were severely affected in the recent conflict.



Geography: : Iraq shares borders with Turkey, Iran, the Gulf of Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. There is also a neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia administered jointly by the two countries. Iraq’s portion covers 3522 sq km (1360 sq miles). The country’s main topographical features are the two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, which flow from the Turkish and Syrian borders in the north to the Gulf in the south. The northeast is mountainous, while in the west the country is arid desert. The land surrounding the two rivers is fertile plain, but the lack of effective irrigation has resulted in flooding and areas of marshland.

Climate: Iraq's mainly continental climate brings a wide range of temperature, with hot summers, particularly in the south, and cold winters, especially on the higher ground.

In the mountainous region of the north, summers can be a little cooler and humidity is lower than in the south. During the winter months (October to April) snow often falls on the mountains.

In the central areas of Iraq, summers are much hotter, with temperatures in Baghdad rising to about 33.3°C (92°F) in July and August. It is not unknown for temperatures to soar as high as 50.6°C (123°F) in this region. Winter in Baghdad brings a mean temperature of about 9.4°C (49°F). Temperatures in Basra range from 37°C (98.6°F) in summer to 14°C (57.2°F) in winter. Dust storms are an unpleasant feature of the central plains region.

The southern area around the Gulf has extremely high humidity and some of the highest temperatures recorded anywhere in the world.
Rainfall is heaviest in the north-east and falls mostly between October and May. On the central plain, however, less than 152mm (about 6 inches) falls annually. Desert areas receive virtually no rainfall.

Geology: Iraq has four distinct geographic regions. The northeastern, mountainous region is known as al-Jazira, rising to nearly 2135m (7000 feet) near the Turkish border. Iraq's two highest points are, which rises to 3600m (11,811 feet) and Mount (3,728m; 12,230 feet). The land area between the Tigris and the Euphrates is an alluvial plain and is Iraq's most fertile region.

In the southeast, adjacent to the Persian Gulf, is a low-lying swampy area, containing marshes, lakes and reedy waterways.
To the west of the Euphrates is the desert region, where the land gradually rises to join the Syrian Desert. This desert area constitutes about 35% of Iraq's total land area.

Iraq's two main rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, flow from northwest to south-east. They converge near Baghdad, then diverge and meet once again about 160km (100 miles) north of the Persian Gulf, to form the Shatt al-Arab River. This river flows through Basra and drains into the Gulf. Richly alluvial soil characterizes the Tigris-Euphrates basin; elsewhere, soils are very light and not especially fertile.


Heritage and Culture

Heritage and Traditions




Telephone: IDD service was available, but services have been severely disrupted in the conflict and much of the network destroyed. Country code: 964. Outgoing international code: 00.

Mobile telephone: There are no networks available at present.

Telegram/Fax: There are facilities in Baghdad. Telegrams can be sent from the telegraph office next to the post office in Rashid Street. Services are also available at major hotels.

Internet: There are no ISPs in Iraq at present. However, there is at least one Internet cafe in Baghdad centre.

Post: Airmail between Western Europe and Iraq used to take 5 to 10 days, but now takes much longer. Visitors should avoid using surface mail.

Press: Newspapers published in Arabic include Ath-Thawra, Al-Iraq and Al-Baath ar-Riyadhi. Periodicals are also published. The main English-language daily is the Baghdad Observer.

Radio: BBC World Service (website: and Voice of America (website: can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

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