The Americanization of a Middle Eastern City

Iraqi Kurdistan has an amazing nature and beautiful parks. But the capital Erbil was long a city with little infrastructure because of the many wars, and has only started to build up the last decade. Where other cities in Kurdistan had roads, sidewalks and restaurants, Erbil is still in many of it’s neighborhoods a city someone called “The wild west”.

So what happens when a region starts to rise up, especially if it’s full of oil? The international companies enters big-time, most of them American – and the urban planning of tags along. Kuwait saw the same development after the Gulf War.

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So in a city that copies the big cities overseas, before you plant trees you build villas guarded by fence.

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Or high-rise buildings before you finish the roads.

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…and no supermarkets to add some life to the suburban blocks. Internationalization has its benefits, but also its doubts.erbil 4

The Rise of Kurdistan

Photo: Copyright Sweden and the Middle East Blog

A few years back, what did you associate Kurdistan with? If you had the same idea like me, an isolated war-torn place in the mountains might be what came to your mind.

In the few years after receiving it’s independency, Kurdistan has rised from it’s broken past and is now a developing region with a booming economy. Tourist resorts, 5 star hotels and fancy restaurants has taken the place of the refugee camps that we got so accustomed with on TV. If you’re in Erbil and looking for a night out, you can go to “Salsa Erbil” or any of the other Facebookpages dedicated to entertain young and bored people.

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Photo: Copyright Sweden and the Middle East Blog

I love to show Iraqi Kurdistan in photos, because it proves that a country or region can build itself up from a broken past and turn into a beautful place.

To Kurdistan now Iraqis from Baghdad and Basra go for vacation, to get away from the violence and unstability in the South. It used to be the other way around.

Photo credit: WOMEN NEWS NETWORK