mesopotamia tour iraq

Explore Mesopotamia

Discover the ancient wonders of Mesopotamia with our expert guides.

Learn about the rich history and culture of Mesopotamia through our immersive tours.

Our services.

Experience Mesopotamia like never before with our tailored travel packages.

Great Mosque of Samarra

Ensure your safety during your visit with our reliable security services.

Stay informed about upcoming events and festivals in Iraq through our blog.

A security official being on guard

Mission Statement

Welcome to our journey through Mesopotamia, Iraq's cradle of civilization! At our core, we're driven by a passionate mission: to unveil the timeless allure of Mesopotamia and beckon travelers to discover its ancient wonders. Our goal is to open doors to the birthplace of human civilization, inviting adventurers, history enthusiasts, and culture seekers to immerse themselves in the richness of this historic land. We strive to offer immersive experiences that transcend mere sightseeing, aiming to forge connections between past and present, fostering understanding and appreciation for Mesopotamia's profound legacy. Through our tailored tours, we aspire to showcase the mesmerizing tapestry of archaeological marvels, diverse cultures, and warm hospitality that define this extraordinary region. Join us as we embark on an expedition to Mesopotamia, where the echoes of history resonate and where every step tells a story waiting to be heard.

Community Initiatives

Empowering Communities Through Tourism

How We Make a Difference:

Creating Opportunities: We're dedicated to generating jobs and income for locals, providing employment in hospitality, guiding, and various tourism-related sectors.

Preserving Heritage: By promoting tourism, we actively contribute to conserving Iraq's rich cultural heritage, ensuring its preservation for generations to come.

Economic Boost: Through increased tourist spending, we drive economic growth within communities, benefiting local businesses and services.

Building Infrastructure: Our efforts improve local infrastructure, enhancing accessibility and convenience for both residents and visitors alike.

Cultural Exchange: We foster cultural exchange and understanding, encouraging interactions between visitors and locals for mutual appreciation and learning.

Sustainable Practices: We're committed to sustainable tourism, implementing eco-friendly initiatives that protect the environment and resources while benefitting local livelihoods.

mesopotamia tour iraq

Join us on a journey that not only explores the beauty of Iraq but also makes a meaningful impact on the lives of its communities. Together, let's create unforgettable experiences while supporting the heart and soul of this remarkable country.

mesopotamia tour iraq

The tour was amazing! I learned so much about the ancient history of Mesopotamia.

mesopotamia tour iraq

I highly recommend Mesopotamia Tours. The guides were knowledgeable and friendly.

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  • Middle East

Modern Mesopotamia

Photo credit: Explore Mesopotamia

From Baghdad to Babylon

Starting in the capital Baghdad and ending in the southeastern port city of Basra, this 10-day exploration of southern Iraq focuses on the majority Shia areas of the country. This region is also deeply rich in history. It is home to the ruins of some of the planet’s most ancient civilizations (the Sumerians, Akkadians, and Babylonians, for example), alongside sites that were pivotal in the early development of Islam. The region is also fascinating as the cultural homeland to both urban Shia Arabs in cities like Karbala and Najaf and rural Marsh Arabs. The former are custodians of some of the most beautiful and holy mosques in the Muslim world, and the latter (who are also Shia) have a unique lifestyle based on the reed-lined waterways of Iraq’s marshes. Both suffered greatly under Saddam Hussein’s regime, and the revitalization of the area has been important to the rebirth of Iraq as a new state free of the former dictator.

The adventures starts in Baghdad, Iraq’s capital and largest city. Over the course of three nights and two days explore the local culture in the souqs and streets and get acquainted with the country’s ancient history while browsing the exhibits at the national museum. Head out of town on a day trip to view the Great Mosque of Samarra and its impressive Malwiya Minaret.

  • Explore the 28 galleries and hundreds of thousands of artifacts housed at the Museum of Iraq, one of the world’s best museums, especially for ancient Mesopotamian civilizations and Islamic history
  • Acquaint yourself with life in contemporary Baghdad as you browse the booksellers and markets on Mutanabbi Street and in the Souq al Safafeer
  • Climb the 9th-century Malwiya Tower in Samarra, one of the world’s oldest and largest minarets, unique for its spiral shape, akin to the inside of a seashell
  • Visit the ruins of the Parthian and Sassanian capital, Ctesiphon, which lies not far from Baghdad

From Baghdad head into the ancient heartland of Mesopotamia to view Babylon, both the ancient ruins and one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces. Then continue to Karbala, an important pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims and the location of the historically important Battle of Karbala. The next stop is Najaf, one of Iraq’s major cities and another important center for Shia pilgrims. The UNESCO-listed ruins of ancient Sumerian city-states are located nearby.

  • Wander the ruins at Babylon, one of the most famous of Iraq’s many ancient cities, and afterwards climb up to the palace overlooking the site, a testament to Saddam Hussein’s megalomania
  • Explore Ukhaidir Palace, an Abbasid archaeological site extensively documented by Gertrude Bell in the early 20th century
  • Contemplate the history of Shia Islam at the spectacular pilgrimage sites of southern Iraq, especially the Imam Husayn Mosque in Karbala, the Great Mosque of Kufa, and the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf
  • Step back into time as you explore the millennia-old Sumerian city-states of Ur and Uruk, both included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Continue through Mesopotamia towards the Persian Gulf, stopping in Nasiriyah to view its bustling markets and then the marshes  near where the Euphrates River meets the Tigris River. The finals nights are spent in Basra, home to Ottoman heritage. Head out for a sunset cruise on the final night to take in the city from a new perspective.

  • Learn about the culture and tumultuous recent history of the Marsh Arabs as you explore the waterways of their reed-filled homeland aboard a boat
  • See where the Euphrates and Tigris meet to form the Shatt al Arab, a purported site of the Biblical Garden of Eden, and then later head out on the Shatt al Arab to see Basra from a new perspective
  • View Ottoman-era Shanasheel houses along the canals of Basra, largely dilapidated now but still evocative of a bygone era, and the subject of UNESCO-supported efforts to revive the traditional carpentry technique

Dates & Prices

Small group tour – max 16 travelers

Land tour price, per person. Based on double occupancy and minimum group size of 6 travelers.

This trip connects to our preceding Kurdistan tour , October 7-15, 2024.

  • 2024 Dates Oct 15 - 24 Limited space Tour, double occupancy $7,295 Single supplement $995
  • 2025 Dates Feb 4 - 13 Nov 11 - 20 Tour, double occupancy $7,695 Single supplement $1,095

What's Included

  • Accommodations, as noted in the itinerary.
  • Most meals, as noted in the itinerary: 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners.
  • Restaurant tips for included meals.
  • Services of experienced, English-speaking local guides, drivers and other staff, including a MIR Tour Manager.
  • Arrival/departure airport transfers. MIR will arrange for all travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end cities.
  • Ground transportation throughout itinerary by private mini-coach, jeep or van (size of vehicle depends on group size and terrain and may vary from region to region).
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in itinerary.
  • Gratuities to local guides, drivers, porters and other service personnel.
  • Complete pre-departure electronic document that includes detailed packing suggestions, reading list links, country-specific information, maps, travel tips and more.
  • Customized visa instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Electronic final update bulletin, with any late news, updates and important information.
  • International airfare or taxes/fuel surcharges.
  • Internal airfare from Erbil to Baghdad (required if participating on the preceding Kurdistan Explorer tour).
  • Meals not specified as included in the itinerary.
  • Single supplement charge, if requested or required.
  • Items of a personal nature (phone calls, email, laundry, alcohol, excess baggage, etc).
  • Visa/passport fees, airport departure fees.
  • Expenses incurred as a result of delay, modification or extension of a tour due to causes beyond MIR’s control.
  • Baggage handling.
  • Gratuities to Tour Manager.
  • Travel and trip cancellation insurance.

Activity Level

Level 3: Medium

The accommodations vary from three- to five-star properties. It is important to keep in mind that parts of Iraq are not up to the standards North American travelers expect. Services are improving; however, you may encounter problems with bureaucratic service, road conditions, plumbing, unpaved sidewalks, uneven surfaces and steps, variety of locally available foods, and availability and quality of public restrooms. You are traveling in some areas that see relatively few travelers, and the infrastructure is not yet fully developed.

While this program is designed to be the most comfortable possible for travel in this region, it is rated as rigorous touring due to the daily walking involved, the length of some bus rides and the overall shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure. This itinerary features a significant amount of touring on foot. Many streets are made of packed dirt, and some attractions are only accessible via steep staircases with tall uneven steps. Often the museums have no elevators. During touring excursions, availability of western toilets is unreliable in in the region. Many public toilets encountered during touring, at museums, at restaurants and so forth are squat toilets, and handrails may be inadequate.

Every effort has been made to make the information in this schedule accurate. However, trip itineraries are always subject to change. We do our best to inform you in advance of any changes, but due to the nature of travel in the region, this may not always be possible. Only those willing to accept these conditions should consider joining this program.

To reap the full rewards of this adventure, travelers must be able to walk at least a mile a day, keeping up with fellow travelers. Flexibility, a sense of humor and a willingness to accept local standards of amenities and services are essential components to the enjoyment of this trip.

  • 1/20 Bustling Mutannabi Street in Baghdad. Photo credit: Jake Smith
  • 2/20 The UNESCO-listed citadel at Ur. Explore Mesopotamia
  • 3/20 A friendly baker in Baghdad. Jake Smith
  • 4/20 A mural within Saddam's Palace at the site of Ancient Babylon. Jake Smith
  • 5/20 A typical street scene in Baghdad. Jake Smith
  • 6/20 A model of the Ishtar Gate at the entrance to ancient Babylon. Photo credit: Jake Smith
  • 7/20 Serving tea in a traditional cafe on Baghdad's Mutannabi Street. Photo credit: Jake Smith Jake Smith
  • 8/20 The Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf. Explore Mesopotamia
  • 9/20 Iraqi baklava, a delicious (and perspective changing) treat. Photo credit: Jake Smith
  • 10/20 Riding through the reedy marshes of southern Iraq. Explore Mesopotamia
  • 11/20 A cuneiform tablet on display at the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. Jake Smith
  • 12/20 The Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala. Explore Mesopotamia
  • 13/20 Mustansiriyah Madrassah in Baghdad. Explore Mesopotamia
  • 14/20 An Assyrian statue from the 9th century BCE on display in the Iraq Museum. Jake Smith
  • 15/20 Dates on Inner Karada Street in Baghdad. Jake Smith
  • 16/20 A modern street secene in Karbala. Explore Mesopotamia
  • 17/20 The Sumerian ruins of Uruk, once ruled by Gilgamesh. Explore Mesopotamia
  • 18/20 Old town Basra and a canal. Explore Mesopotamia
  • 19/20 The ruins of ancient Babylon. Explore Mesopotamia
  • 20/20 The Ottoman-era Haydar Khana Mosque in Baghdad. Photo credit: Jake Smith

Stay A Little Longer...

While add-ons in Iraq are not possible, MIR can arrange for an extension at the beginning or end of your trip to any of our other destinations, including other Middle Eastern countries or perhaps the not so far away ‘Stans of Central Asia .  Contact MIR  for details about extended-travel options.

Or, choose from one of these suggested itineraries:

  • Small Group 19 Days From $7,595 Ancient Persia – Modern Iran Departures: 2024 (1), 2025 (2)
  • Small Group 9 Days From $5,795 Kurdistan Explorer Departures: 2024 (1), 2025 (2)
  • Small Group 14 Days From $9,695 Saudi Arabia: Trade Routes, Tradition & Transformation Departures: 2024 (3), 2025 (4)
  • Small Group   From $8,095 UAE & Oman: Culture & Contrast in the Middle East Departures May Vary
  • Private 10 Days From $4,895 Essential Iran Departures May Vary
  • Private 4 Days From $1,895 Essential Qatar Departures May Vary
  • Private 8 Days From $6,395 Essential Saudi Arabia Departures May Vary

Stories To Inspire

What is it like to travel in iraq, why travel to southern iraq, why travel to kurdistan, introducing the middle east.

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Ancient Origins

Unveiling Ancient Treasures: Epic Iraq Tour - Oct 2024

Join Ancient Origins' exclusive tour of Iraq sacred past in Oct 2024, visiting some of the country’s most important ancient sites including: Eridu , Tell Al-Ubaid, Larsa & Ur, Lagash ,(Nippure & Borsippa) – Karbala, (Al-Ukhaider & Babylon) - Baghdad, Ctesiphon & Wasit ,Iraq Museum & Selusia, Abassid Palace, Bab alwastani & Aqargouf , and many more sites besides. Join us for an unforgettable experience, exploring the archaeology and history of Iraq.


Explore the mysteries of Iraq on an exclusive 15-days, 14-nights tour in Oct 2024 hosted by Ancient Origins' Dr Micki Pistorius. Everyone booked on this tour will receive a booklet with articles by experts to the archaeological sites to be visited in Iraq.

mesopotamia tour iraq

Dr Micki Pistorius’ journalist career commenced in printed and television media. She obtained a DPhil in Psychology, profiled hardened criminals, and authored several books on the subject. She completed BA Hons in Biblical Archaeology and has an affinity for the Bronze Age. She trailed Odysseus from Mycenae on mainland Greece to Troy in Turkey, followed the footsteps of Alexander the Great to Taxila in Pakistan, and traced her Tancred crusader ancestral lineage to Hauteville in France. She lives and writes on a tropical island.

Places to be visited: Uruk • Lagash • Nippure & Borsippa • Al-Ukhaider & Babylon • Samarra, • Ctesiphon & Wasit • Iraq Museum & Selusia • Abassid Palace • Bab alwastani & Aqargouf, Ashur & Hatra • Nineveh • Nimrud- Khorsabad • Citadel & Bazaar

A local tour guide will provide background history and news on the latest archaeological developments on the sites to be visited, supplemented by your on-site Ancient Origins hostess Dr. Micki Pistorius.


Ancient Origins is offering its readers a SPECIAL EARLY BIRD PRICE of US$4025 per person on bookings made before the END OF DECEMBER 2019!

This is a US$200 per person saving (or US$400 per couple)!

Register your details to hold your place on this exclusive tour. To secure your place a deposit payment of US$750 per person is required within 48 hours of completing the form. Payment details are noted at the end of the form. Travel with peace of mind, knowing that your payments are 100% financially protected in case any of our suppliers become insolvent, in which case you would receive a full refund..

mesopotamia tour iraq




Clients will have a private transfer from basra airport to the hotel, irrespective of arrival date and time. At the end of the tour, clients will also be transferred privately to Basra Airport. Where clients arrival times are close to each other, then the transfer will be on a shared basis.

mesopotamia tour iraq

ANCIENT ORIGINS TOUR OF IRAQ 20 OCT - 03 NOV 2024 15 DAYS/14 NIGHTS Price per person based on double occupancy: US$7,995 Please note prices are based on a single person sharing a room with another tour guest Single occupancy supplement: US$845 BASIC TOUR DEPOSIT US$750 Price is based on a minimum of 8 participants and a maximum of 12 participants * Travel with peace of mind, knowing that your payments are 100% financially protected in case any of our suppliers become insolvent, in which case you would receive a full refund.

Register your details to hold your place on this exclusive tour. To secure your place a deposit payment of US$750 per person is required within 48 hours of completing the form. Payment details are noted at the end of the form.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR TRAVELLING TO IRAQ Throughout this journey, we anticipate encountering a few checkpoints between provinces and cities. We kindly request your understanding and patience in case any delays occur due to document verification procedures.

ACCOMMODATIONS Over recent years, hotel accommodations have undergone significant upgrades to ensure comfort and western-standard amenities. Final choice of accommodation is subject to change. We will choose hotels of a similar standard where hotel shown is not used. While our guides may not align with the traditional definitions found in popular tourist destinations like Europe, Turkey, Egypt, or Morocco, they excel as tour coordinators and managers. This is due to the country’s lack of licensed, traditional guides.

PREPARATION & EXPECTATIONS Participants should be healthy, adaptable, and embrace the spirit of adventure. Although our journeys aren’t typically physically intense, the remote locations, occasional use of back roads, and potential delays can offer a unique travel experience. It’s essential to be aware of changes in security protocols and understand that itineraries or accommodations may shift unexpectedly. As Iraq can be particularly warm even between November and March, guarding against dehydration is crucial. We ensure bottled water is always available during your travels.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS & FLEXIBILITY Our expedition includes the area north of Baghdad, taking you to the ancient ruins of Assyria, including Nineveh, Khorasabad, Hatra, and Nimrud. These sites, once under ISIS control, are now accessible again. However, our partner Spiekermann Travel closely tracks security conditions. We reserve the right to adjust the itinerary as required. It’s essential that travelers are understanding and accommodating of such changes.

TRIP GRADE Active: Includes moderate hikes, visits to sites that may involve a bit more walking, occasional elevation changes, a full itinerary with extended drives, and longer journeys.


A deposit of US$750 per person is required to secure immediate booking. The remainder of the payment will be required ten weeks before the start date of the tour.

Any problems or queries contact   us here


1. Cancellations must be received in writing and will be processed according to the date the written notice is received. Although a verbal cancellation is appreciated, it will not be accepted as final notice. Departure is defined as the date of the first flight from travellers country, or the trip departure date as indicated on our Trip Schedule, whichever comes first. 1. Money will be refunded minus the following cancellation fees/penalties per person (unless different for a particular trip, then the special cancellation schedule of that trip will apply): - From time of booking up to 90 days prior to departure $500.00 per person - 89-60 days prior to departure $750.00 per person - 59-31 days prior to departure 75% of total land cost - 30-0 days prior to departure No refund 2. Aside from the above penalties, any additional penalties on airline tickets imposed by the airlines- in cases of cancellation or date changes after issuance of tickets - will be totally charged to the traveler. In addition, any costs involved in obtaining visas will also be collected from the traveler and cannot be reimbursed by Ancient Origins or its suppliers. 3. Hotel rooms booked on our tours are run of The House (ROH), any special rooms with views or upper floors will entail a supplement that clients will be responsible to cover.


  • Airport/Hotel/Airport transfers.
  • Accommodation at mentioned hotels or similar in centrally located area.
  • Meals as per the itinerary (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch and D: Dinner).
  • Travel by private modern & air-conditioned car.
  • 4-wheel drive for the Eridu, Tell Al Ubaid & Larsa visits.
  • Mineral water in the vehicle during tours.
  • Entrance fees to all mentioned sites and museums mentioned.
  • All activities as described in the tour.
  • English Speaking guide.
  • Gratuities to guide, drivers, and porters.
  • International airfare USA - Basra / Erbil - USA.
  • Iraq Visa (obtainable upon arrival for approx. US$77.00- to be paid in cash - subject to change).
  • Items of personal nature (camera fees at sites, laundry, excess luggage, etc).
  • Beverages or any alcoholic drinks with or without meals and any meals not mentioned.
  • Transfers if not arriving/departing on tour dates.
  • Dayroom/overnights necessitated by changes in airline schedules or misconnections.
  • Travel protection insurance. (Highly recommended)

mesopotamia tour iraq

Mesopotamia Tours

Welcome to Mesopotamia

Welcome to Mesopotamia Tours! We offer extraordinary trips with ensured safety, comfort and mind-broadening experience in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, with personalized attention 24/7 emergency assistance, we are dedicated professional guides who will meet every aspect of your need to ensure your experience is enjoyable and worthwhile. We immediately attend to your medical and consular services. transportation is always in well maintained 4X4 WD Vehicles or in a Minivan up on your request. We plan your trip per your request prior to your arrival. We share the plan and we have your approval prior to your arrival. We may recommend change to your plan depending on the situation, weather, and other factors. We always aim to meet your trip expectation.

Explore the Kurdistan ease

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  • Sulaymaniyah

Sulaymaniyah Tours Program

Explore our plans, tours & destinations.


mesopotamia tour iraq

(Formerly Kurdistan Iraq Tours)


Our company is owned and operated by an American with 30 years’ experience in the region, who works hand in hand with a highly trained local staff. Explore Mesopotamia (formerly Kurdistan Iraq Tours USA) was the first inwardly focused Tour Company in the region and is the pioneer of all modern tourism in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. We hosted the first ever tour group after the last Gulf War (American) and have been in the forefront of hosting most other major nations such as Germany, Australia, Italy, Austria, Britain, and China as well as more obscure nations such as Mongolia.

We are famous for our attention to detail. Relax let us handle your journey to one of the most fascinating lands in the world.

We are the most experienced travel professionals in this region.

Dr. douglas layton ceo.

Dr. Layton has lived and worked in Kurdistan over 25 years in various capacities including the US State Department Country Director of Health Care Partnerships in Iraq and as the National Director for Kurdistan Development Corporation. He has written extensively on Kurdistan and is the founder the first American English language school in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.  He was the originator of the term “The Other Iraq” used by many media outlets and governments today and initiated the successful International PR campaign titled Kurdistan: The Other Iraq aired on major news outlets such as CNN, FOX, CBS and BBC and many others. In 1995 Layton testified as an expert before the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs regarding the genocide against the Kurds by Saddam Hussein.  He has traveled to more than 100 countries and is the founder of several International relief and development NGOs. He is also the founder of the first tour company in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. He now resides in Big Bear, California and travels to Kurdistan on a regular basis.For complete profile see: Testimony:  "Dr. Layton has unparalleled experience with the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and its leaders and people accumulated over several decades of close contact. Despite his many other pressing demands on his time, Dr. Layton very generously contributed his insights and deep knowledge of the region, and of the Kurds in particular. I owe him a debt of gratitude; not only for his judgment and practical advice, but also for sparking my admiration for the Kurdistan and its wonderful people. Dr. Layton has been assiduous in untangling partisan biases; as well as sorting fact from fiction during his many years of research. I am merely one the grateful beneficiaries of his work."  Robert Muirhead, Author of "Bearing Witness: A Journey Through Kurdistan," 2019

Haana S. Babashekh Project Manager / Guide 

Haana is the first woman tour guide in Kurdistan and Iraq, our Project Manager, and Senior Guide. Former business development manager for one of the largest Travel Management companies in Kurdistan. She has worked in the radio and advertising world. She graduated dentistry, and is currently pursuing an Executive Master of Business Administration with University of Northampton, UK. She is also an artist and jewelry maker. Haana has done a great deal of work in the humanitarian relief world and her passionate heart envelopes all she meets. She is the consummate problem solver and her vast network of connections in the region makes her a valued member of our team and invaluable to our guests. Haana speaks Kurdish, English, Persian; Arabic, Albanian, Serbo-Crotian and Russian. Testimony: "​For Haana, Our fearless guide and protector, Like so many others, I cannot thank you enough for the superb work you did for us every day. You and your effervescent personality made the trip wonderful. You are always well-informed, artistically articulate, and thoughtful. Throughout it all, you are tirelessly conscientious. That’s the trademark of a great person. In your presentations, you constantly spoke and acted with an artistic flair. You think this is normal because that is the way you are gifted by nature. But for the rest of us it is a rare treat in a tour company, and I want to let you know how much we all appreciate it. All too often many people will see artistic gems like you but won’t think to mention it. But even for all of these qualities, you always have something more. Despite all the tragedies, you, your family, and people have endured you smile through it all with a heart and vision of something much bigger. You constantly demonstrated a genuine depth of character of someone far beyond your age."  Ralph. USA, April 2022

Shayan Barzani Senior Guide

Shayan is a senoir guide, has been with Explore Mesopotamia since 2019.  In 1975 his grandparents were one of the thousands who moved to Iran as refugees due to the conflict between the Kurds and the Iraqi/Baghdad government. Shayan was born in Iran in 1995. After returning to Kurdistan, Shayan studied computer programming at Cihan University, graduating first in his class in computer science. He also operates a Real Estate Agency when he is not leading tours.  He is currently writing a Book about “Shanidar Cave”, the Neanderthal’s, and their amazing sojourn and history in Kurdistan.  He is passionate about revealing the secrets of his nation to the people of the world- a gracious host and knowledgeable Guide, Shayan speaks English, Kurdish,  Arabic and Farsi (Persian). Testimony: "The itinerary was very well conceived and organized, with full days and perfect time management. Everything worked perfectly even considering the changes due to Covid. The choice of the hotels was excellent and our tour guide was absolutely fantastic!"  Luisa Italy (May 2021) "Two of the customers encountered your guide (Shayan) and told me they felt like he was a very calm and cool man. Looking forward to our next tour!"  Pier Doyon, Young Pioneers Tours, 2019

Gursel Bulut Turkey Country Manager

Gursel Bulut is the Project Manager for Explore Mesopotamia (EM) in Turkey. He has worked with the owner of EM since 1992. He is a Kurd born in Arpacay (Kars), Turkey near the Armenian border. He studied communication at Istanbul University and speaks Kurdish, English, Spanish, and Italian fluently as well as a smattering of several other languages. He has lived in Morocco, India, Spain, and Dubai. He has worked as a VIP guide in Turkey, Spain, and Morocco specializing in tours for diplomats. Gursel is one of the founders of the Caravansar and former member of the oversight Committee of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. He founded a charity called Dokuzonu in 2004 and is a passionate humanitarian. He is an expert in Central Asian and Mesopotamian textiles and has participated in nearly 50 International exhibitions around the world as both a buyer and seller. He has run his own import/export business for much of his adult life. He knows Turkey as few others in his business. When in the hands of Gursel, clients will experience a side of Turkey few have seen and be privy to insights of which few have such intimate knowledge.

Dylan Omer Guide

Dylan is a English department graduate, former assistant lecturer at the University of Sulaymaniah, and part-time translator. He has a passion for Mesopotamian history and found his calling in sharing his passion with the guests of Explore Mesopotamia.

Araz Jalal Zangabady Guide

Born and raised in Erbil, Iraq, Araz is a videographer, painter, editor, graphic arts and “motion graphic” designer. He serves as a media coordinator for Explore Mesopotamia and will be developing “shorts” for our company’s YouTube Channel as well as “mini docs” of tours throughout Mesopotamia. 

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Iraq Tour Itineraries

2024 / 2025

The world’s leading Iraq travel specialist. Join us throughout the year where we explore the “Land between two rivers” – Mesopotamia. 

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Iraq is open and welcoming tourists once again. We have tours to Iraqi Kurdistan in the north and Baghdad and beyond in the south.

All tours start and finish in either Baghdad, Basra or Erbil. All three have major airports which can easily be reached from Turkey or the Gulf.

There is an abundance of incredible and untouched history waiting to be seen. All our Iraq Tours are confirmed departures. Unsure of where you want to go? Check out our Map and FAQs below.

Tour dates don’t work? No worries, let us know when you want to travel and we will create a private tour for you .

Entire Iraq!

From Erbil – Duhok – Sulaymaniyah – Samara – Baghdad – Karbala – Najaf – Babylon – Basra & everywhere in between.

See our group Iraq tour itineraries below. Get in touch for a private tour quote.

Baghdad, IQ

Iraqi Kurdistan is visa on arrival for most European countries as well as the US, Canada, Australia, NZ, Japan, Brazil & more .

For Southern Iraq a new visa on arrival scheme has been announced for citizens of the EU, UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Russia, China Japan & South Korea. If you are not from one of these countries then we will apply for a visa on your behalf. An invitation letter is issued and you can also get the visa on arrival.

Tour   Itineraries

Iraq Tour

Itinerary Summer 2024

Overland from Baghdad to Erbil via Babylon, Karbala, Najaf, Nasariyah, Samarra and Mosul!

  • May 11 - 18th, 2024

Iraq Tour

Our classic Iraqi Kurdistan tour with added swimming spots!

  • May 19 - 25th, 2024

Iraq Tour

Our classic Entire Iraq tour from Baghdad to Erbil with two full weeks exploring ancient Mesopotamia!

  • May 11 - 25th, 2024

Iraq Tour

Itinerary Autumn 2024

Overland all the way from the southern city of Basra to the Kurdish capital of Erbil.

  • Sept 24 - Oct 2nd, 2024

Iraqi kurdistan Tour

Visit Kurdistan during the Yazidi Autumn Assembly Festival!

  • Oct 2 - 8th, 2024

Iraq Tour

It’s a big one! All of Iraq – from Basra to Erbil and everything in between.

  • Sept 24 - Oct 8th, 2024

Iraqi kurdistan Tour

Itinerary November 2024

Travel north from Basra city all the way to Baghdad!

  • Nov 3 - 8th, 2024

Iraq Tour

Itinerary December 2024

It’s our Baghdad to Erbil classic arriving in the Kurdish capital on new years eve!

  • Dec 26 - Jan 1st, 2025

Iraq Tours

Itinerary March 2025

It’s our Baghdad to Erbil classic reaching Kurdistan in time for new year celebrations!

  • March 7 - 15th, 2025

Iraq Tour

Itinerary Spring 2025

We cover every corner of Northern Iraq as we celebrate the new years festival of Nowruz.

  • Mar 15 - 21st, 2025

Iraq Tours

It’s our favorite Iraq tour of the year – See the whole country and the iconic Nowruz fire show!

  • March 7 - 21st, 2025

Create your own Iraq Tour

If our scheduled group tours don’t suit then we can create your own tour on your own dates.

The tours are all inclusive of  accommodation in standard hotels, breakfast, private transport, entrance fees, permits, guiding and translations. Excluded are international flights, most meals, visa fees, tips & insurance.

Southern Iraq tours are not open to Israeli passport holders or those with evidence of visiting Israel in their passports. Iraqi Kurdistan is the exception for this.

Some parts of Iraq are deemed unsafe to visit. We research and meticulously plan our itineraries based on advice from our partners in Baghdad. All places on our itineraries are safe to visit.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1 - baghdad.

  • Arrival in Baghdad. Your tour guide will meet you in Baghdad Airport.
  • Introductory briefing on travelling in Iraq and a breakdown of the itinerary
  • Baghdad tour – See the Liberation Square monument , which commemorates the establishment of the Republic of Iraq.
  • Visit to the National Museum of Iraq . Reopened in 2015 after notorious looting during the war, it contains various treasure from the Mesopotamian and Babylonian periods.
  • Visit the incredible and well renovated Al–Mustansariya School. This is commonly known as the oldest school in the world.
  • Walk through the book market and adjoining copper market . A great place for souvenirs and photography.
  • Visit the Al-Shaheed (Martyr) Monument.
  • Traditional Fish Masgouf dinner and overnight in Baghdad.

Day 2 - Baghdad & Ctesiphon

  • After breakfast it’s another full Baghdad city tour starting with a visit to the Save Iraqi Culture Monument and see the Green Zone of Baghdad.
  • Visit the Al-Yassin Shrine arguably Baghdad’s finest.
  • Stroll along the Tigris River and see the famous old clock tower and Abbasid Palace.
  • Lunch in a traditional Baghdadi restaurant. 
  • Drive out to one of the greatest historical sites in the Middle East: the ruins of Ctesiphon . These days all that’s left is a gigantic arch which also happens to be the world’s largest span of unreinforced brickwork.
  • Dinner and overnight in Baghdad.

Day 3 - Karbala & Samarra

  • Up early for the drive to Samarra. Pass through multiple militia checkpoints along the route driving by many villages destroyed during the fighting against ISIS
  • Visit the incredible Great Mosque of Samarra and it’s iconic spiral minaret. Climb all the way to the top if you dare!
  • Drive back south onto the holy city of Karbala, just in time to catch the historic shrines at sunset.
  • Dinner and overnight in Karbala.

Day 4 - Karbala and Babylon

  • After breakfast we visit Karbala’s famous  Al Abbas mosque and Iman Husayn shrine
  • Drive to Babylon . You’ll tour the ancient ruins with our local expert and what’s left of the hanging gardens.
  • Explore the looted ruins of Saddam Hussein’s former palace – perched on top of the ancient city
  • After extensively exploring Babylon, continue onto Najaf. Visit the most important site of Najaf  – the Imam Ali shrine for the daily late night ceremony.
  • Dinner and overnight in Najaf.

Day 5 - Najaf, Nasiriyah and Ur  

  • In the morning we’ll drive to visit the  tomb of the prophet Ezekiel  in the city of Al Kifl. 
  • Najaf, including  Imam Ali’s house  (the very spot where imam Ali was killed) and the  Imam Ali Shrine  itself.
  • Visit the  Wadi-Us-Salaam  – the world’s largest graveyard. It is said to contain tens of millions of bodies. Many shiites request to be buried here in one of the numerous catacombs.
  • Leave Najaf and drive south to visit the  Ziggurat of Ur , a neo-Sumerian construction built in 2000 BC. This used to be the capital of Mesopotamia during the Sumerian time and it is a UNESCO world heritage site since 2016.
  • Drive to Nasariyah city and overnight.

Day 6 - Mesopotamian Marshes and Basra

  • Up super early for sunrise in  Mesopotamian Marshes!  We’ll take a boat trip through the maze of marshes stopping by local villages for tea. The marshes once engulfed a whole swathe of Southern Iraq with numerous floating villages. Today the receding waters have led most families to change their livelihood but we’ll still see the few that remain.
  • It is also home to the Maʻdān population who over the centuries have adapted to life on the water. Stop by a traditional house for lunch and tea.
  • Tour the local market of Chibayesh and have lunch in a traditional reed house.
  • Drive south towards Basra , the largest city in Southern Iraq and the country’s only seaport.
  • Visit the Ashar and Shanashil Al Basra area to witness the old Basra – old style merchant houses with balconies leaning over the narrow streets. Stop by the Souq, History Museum, Saddam Hussein Palace (of course) and the Central Railway Station.
  • Dinner and overnight in Basra.

Day 7 - Basra

  • Airport transfer & end of tour.

Babylon, Istar Gate

Iraq   blog

Erbil Citadel

What are the differences between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iraq?

Iraqi Kurdistan vs Federal Iraq Iraq is a complicated place. Sectarian divisions have long characterised the country, be that between the various factions of Islam

Group shot at the Martyr's moumnet in Baghdad

Is it safe to travel to Iraq as a tourist?

Tourism in Iraq The image that Iraq usually conjures is one of fighting, unrest and turmoil — but slowly, that is changing. Life is returning

The Great Mosque of Samarra

Travel to the Great Mosque of Samarra

How To Travel to the Great Mosque of Samarra The Great Mosque of Samarra is not the easiest place to get to in Iraq –

Iraq Tours - FAQs

Most frequent questions and answers for our tours in iraq..

Iraqi Kurdistan has always been generally safe as it has separate borders with the rest of the country. It is protected by the foreign aided fighting force – the Peshmerga.

Southern Iraq has recently become safe to visit . Since the fall of ISIS we have led successful research tours and organized numerous group tours there without issue.

Passports from the EU, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil and others are visa free for 15 days in Iraqi Kurdistan. Passports from other countries can apply for a visa through our partners for an extra cost.

Iraq has now introduced a visa on arrival scheme for citizens of the EU, UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Russia, China Japan & South Korea. If you are not from one of these countries then we will apply for a visa on your behalf. An invitation letter is issued and you can bring this to your local embassy to apply for the visa.

Travel insurance is a must. We have teamed up with IATI Travel Insurance because they provide cover for all our destinations. You’ll also automatically receive a 5% discount with them as a Rocky Road Travel customer.

For flights into Erbil and Baghdad, the main gateways are Istanbul and Dubai.

USD and Euro are both accepted in currency exchanges. Make sure to bring cash.

Our groups are capped at 10 people for added flexibility and comfort.

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Visit IRAQ - We are here to provide local expertise!

To get a truly immersive cultural experience, Visit Iraq by Orchid Group is your ultimate gateway to discover Iraq, specialize in providing customers with the best possible experience when it comes to exploring the country.


Historial Tour


Cultural Tour


Archeological Tour

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Religious Tour

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IRAQ: The C radle of Civi lization

Mesopotamia - the core of modern Iraq - The ancient Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians all developed great empires in the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Later on, it was ruled by the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, and the Ottoman turks. This land, with all that it holds, can offer visitors a lifetime of one of a kind experiences that you can cherish forever. Baghdad evolved Into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center for the Islamic world. This, in addition to housing several Key academic institutions, as well as hosting multiethnic and multi-religious environment, garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the “Centre of Learning".

What to see


Iraqi National Museum


Al-Shaheed Monument


Umm Al-Qura Mosque


Al-Muttanabi Street


Holy Imam Hussein Shrine


Al Abbas Holy Shrine


Ahmed Awa Waterfall


Erbil Citadel


Korek Mountain

Experience The incredible Iraqi foods

From Dolma to Iraqi authentic Qouzi, you will taste something that is not found anywhere in the world.


Mesopotamia Tourism

Multi Day Tours

Explore all of mesopotamias tours with us​

Mesopotamia Tourism offers multi day tours through the country either with our own theme focused itinerary or a customized tour if needed. Our itineraries cover most important topics to understand a country that was covered dominantly by negative news outlets focussing on war, conflict and corruption. The past years the security of the country changed and the borders are open again for visitors.

Now is the best time to rediscover the land of 1000 and 1 nights and it’s beautiful people in a different way. Come and get to know Iraq in a way you will not see in the media. We help you to understand and connect with this country that will make you feel travel through time.

mesopotamia tour iraq

What does our Multi-Day Tour service include?

  • Accommodation
  • Transportation on the ground
  • Local guide (speaking English, German, Arabic, Kurdish)
  • Breakfast & Dinner (not incl. Alcoholic beverage)
  • Entry fees (Archaeological sites & Museums)
  • Tailored Guidebook from Mesopotamia Tourism*

*Traveling through Iraq and trying to understand its rich history of over thousands of years can be overwhelming. No other region housed so many different capitals for empires like the land between the Euphrates and Tigris. During our tour we will provide you with our custom-made Mesopotamia Tourism Guidebook which is specifically made for your itinerary.

Capitals Of Mesopotamia - 8 Days Central Iraq + Northwest Iraq + Kurdistan region

In this itinerary, we will take a route through the small and big capitals that existed through the past millennia. Some are to this day flourishing despite periods of ups and downs, while others remained abandoned in ruins.

Tour will start in Baghdad and will end in Erbil and will take 8 days.

mesopotamia tour iraq

Lalesh + Assyrian Monuments

mesopotamia tour iraq

Book a Tour

How many persons 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10+ Choose the date

mesopotamia tour iraq

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  • Go to Ancient Origins

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  • Iraq: Mysterious Ancient Mesopotamia: Tour Preview

Ancient Origins IRAQ Tour

Ancient Origins’ Dr Micki Pistorius takes you on a virtual preview of the sites of Iraq. Starting at the ancient Marshland settlements in the south where the Euphrates and the Tigris fused , bordering the Persian gulf, we travel up along the two rivers, crisscrossing the Fertile Crescent, until we reach the citadel of Erbil in the north, incorporating several epochs dating from 8,000 years ago, up to modern Baghdad.

Between the Tigris and the Euphrates, memories of mysterious Mesopotamia, envelop the sun-baked ruins of ziggurats, temples, palaces, cities, and irrigation canals, where gods took the hands of kings, to rule, to make war, to worship, to love and eventually to ruin.  Called the Cradle of Civilization, this is the land of the Sumerians, the Akkadians and the Babylonians, which today is called Iraq. The Ubaid period, starting around 5000 BC, marked the earliest known settlements in the region, characterized by villages and the development of agriculture and draining of marshes in the fertile crescent.

The Sumerian civilization emerged around 3500 BC and brought significant advancements in agriculture, governance, urbanization, and the creation of the world's first writing system, cuneiform. They built ziggurats as dwellings for their tutelary gods and elaborate palaces. This era is renowned for city-states such as Eridu, Larsa, Ur, Uruk, Lagash, Nippur, Nimrud and Kish.

The Old Akkadian Empire, led by Sargon the Great during the 24th century BC, united Mesopotamia under one rule, subjugating the entire Fertile Crescent, marking a critical shift in the region's history. It laid the foundation for the Akkadian language's dominance and the spread of cuneiform script. He is regarded as the first Emperor and was succeeded by his grandson Naram Sin. We visit Ashur and Nineveh, two of the Old Akkadian cities.

Then there was a Sumerian revival period of the Third Dynasty of Ur and the Isin-Larsa Period, whilst Babylon was on the rise.

The Old Babylonian Empire, existing from the 18th to 16th centuries BC, was a significant Mesopotamian civilization centered in Babylon. It was known for its code of laws, the famous Code of Hammurabi, and advancements in mathematics, astronomy, and literature.

The Neo-Assyrian Empire was founded around 911 BC and the most significant expansion and consolidation of the empire occurred under Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BC) and later rulers such as Tiglath-Pileser III, Sargon II, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Ashurbanipal who were some of the prominent Neo-Assyrian monarchs.

The Neo-Babylonian Empire was founded in 626 BC by Nabopolassar, who led a successful rebellion against the crumbling Neo-Assyrian Empire and he eventually established an independent Babylonian state. The most famous ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire was Nebuchadnezzar II, who reigned from 605 to 562 BC. The Neo-Babylonian Empire is known for its cultural achievements, including the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The Persian era, initiated by Cyrus the Great's conquest in the 6th century BC, saw the integration of Mesopotamia into the Achaemenid Empire. It brought a new level of administrative sophistication to the region.

Then the region was conquered by Alexander the Great, divided by the Diadochi, introducing the Seleucid period, and Seleucia on the bank of the Tigris. This period was followed by the conversion to Islam and the first century Caliphates. The Al Ukaider Fortress is a massive monument to the Abbasid dynasty. Ctesiphon was the capital of the Parthian empire and Wasit dates to the Umayyad period.

These historical epochs collectively shaped Mesopotamia into a dynamic and influential region in the ancient world, with contributions that resonate through the annals of human history.

In Baghdad we visit the National Museum of Iraq, and marvel at the collection of priceless artifacts, many being recovered after looting during the Iraqi war. We stroll through Baghdad’s famous copper markets for old fashioned bartering. We also visit an Abassid palace, and the Abu Dulaf Mosque in Samarra,

We end in the north, strolling through the old markets of the ancient citadel of Erbil.

mesopotamia tour iraq

Watch the Webinar HERE

Ancient Origins Quotations

tour to Iraq trip to Mesopotamia expedition to Bagdad Mosul Basr Samarra Marsh Arabs tour to Middle East Kurdistan Syria Babylon, expedition Marsh Arabs, tour Mosul

  • 1 UNIQUENESS We find the most astonishing places on Earth and speed up to reach them. Our motto is to go ahead of road roller, touch the unique and unknown, before it disappears.
  • 2 ADVENTURISM Wherever we go, we look for challenging activities and adventures, filling the journey with absolutely different spirit and emotions. That is why people join us over and over again.
  • 3 SAFETY In our trips we pay special attention to safety. All our travels are based on personal experience, equipped with the best gear, involving proved providers and experienced local guides who perfectly know local features.
  • 4 EXPERIENCE We have a unique experience of the most offbeat expeditions and ascents, deep knowledge of countries and peoples, and are ready to share it with you.

mesopotamia tour iraq

Untamed Borders - Adventure travel


Places of interest.

Travel to Iraq, one of the cradles of civilisation. Situated between the Euphrates and the Tigris, ancient Mesopotamia pre-dates written history. Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian empires controlled the region, leaving behind a bounty of historical sites and artefacts. The diverse landscape, geographically and culturally, holds unforeseen adventures of lonely desert forts and spiralling minarets. A country better known for deserts also boasts marshlands in the South and the Zagros Mountains in the North, which play host to our ski trips each winter. The Arab Islamic conquest in the 7th century paved the way for the establishment of Islam, which continues to be an important part of the countries culture. Iraq is host to the two holy places of Shia Islam, Najaf and Karbala, as well as the spiritual home of the Yazidi people, Lalish. Beyond the awe-inspiring sites and landscapes, above all, the hospitality of the people across the country, from the Arabs in the South to the Kurds in the North, is often the most lasting memory.







mesopotamia tour iraq



Capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan, Erbil is a city rapidly transitioning from a small town into a strong economic centre for the region. The highlight of the town is the 7000+ year old Citadel, the oldest continually inhabited city in the world. Erbil is also host to the annual Erbil Marathon. You can also find more information on one of our guest’s blogs who we guided for a visit around Iraqi Kurdistan.


Considered to be the cultural capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Sulaymaniyah has long been the center for pioneering creatives, politicians and scholars. In the city is the Sulaimani Museum, which is the second biggest museum after the national museum in Baghdad. Nearby, the town of Halabjeh can be found, made famous by the tragic Chemical Attack by Saddam Hussein’s forces in 1998.

Lalish Iraqi Kurdistan

Most nationalities can obtain a visa on arrival at the airport.  Please note, if you arrive at Erbil Airport the visa will only be valid for Iraqi Kurdistan and NOT southern Iraq.

Contact us for further information. 

Iraq has a hot and dry desert climate throughout the year, with summer temperatures rising to almost 50°C. Winters can be a bit cold with temperatures ranging from 9-24°C in the lowlands. Winters in the mountains are much colder and snow is a frequent occurrence. Please check the weather for the region you travel before departing and ensure you bring adequate clothing.

The local currency in Iraq and Kurdistan is the Iraqi Dinar, IQD.

For up to date exchange rates please have a look at


Power is generally reliable across all of Iraq.  Iraq power plugs and sockets are of type C, D and G.

Most guesthouses and hotels have adequate Wifi. 3G works in cities.

Masgouf is the national dish and is made from fish, although there is a mix of many cuisines, such as Persian, Iraqi and even Indian. Most meals centre on meat, so not ideal for a vegetarian although very good vegetables and fruit also widely eaten.

Southern Iraq: Alcohol, while technically legal, is difficult to obtain.

Iraqi Kurdistan: Alcohol is available in certain hotels in Erbil.

Arabic and Kurdish

Sunni Muslim

Southern Iraq: Iraq is a conservative Islamic region, please ensure you wear long trousers and a t-shirt or shirt for men. We suggest women wear a headscarf, a long top that reaches the wrists, covers the chest and stretches to the thighs and covers the bum. Also long trousers. Clothing should hide the shape of the body. This is essential for visiting shrines but also respectful everywhere.

Iraqi Kurdistan: Although it is not as conservative as some of its neighbours, Iraqi-Kurdistan is still an Islamic region and as such women might be more comfortable wearing a headscarf (although it is not compulsory) and long sleeved clothing that covers the shape of the body. Men should wear long trousers.


The FCO Advises against travel to Iraq. This is due to anti-government forces operating in the certain parts of the country. We avoid travel to parts of the country and take precautions in the areas we do travel. Contact us for information on where we do and do not guide in this region and how we work to minimise risk for our guests and staff.


We have twice been asked by the ETIC to assist in arranging their conferences. A meeting of some of the world’s most travelled people. In 2017 we arranged the conference in Mogadishu with an add-on to Puntland. In 2018 we arranged for the conference in Baghdad with an add-on to Karbala, Najaf and Ur.

Adventure Not War

Adventure Not War is the story of three U.S. veterans traveling back into the mountains of Iraq on a mission to heal wounds and experience the country and its culture without the shadow of war.

In 2017 we arranged the first-ever commercial ski trip to Iraq. 2020 will be our fourth year taking skiers to Iraq and third year of taking skiers to compete at the Iraq Ski Rally. For a country more associated with deserts, Iraq has some great mountainous terrain in the northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. We’ll explore the area together with a qualified international ski guide. Through Untamed Borders previous skiing and climbing trips to Iraq, we have identified areas that offer exciting ski touring terrain. Click here to view more details about Ski Iraq trip.

Trips in Middle East

mesopotamia tour iraq

Iraq – Cradle of Civilisation

Travel to Iraq with Untamed Borders! The trip begins in Baghdad and visits ancient Sumerian and Babylonian sites, as well as medieval souks, UNESCO-recognised minarets, Shia Islam’s two holiest sites, and a boat trip on the Shatt al-Arab. Combine with…

Lalish, Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraqi – Kurdistan

This 7-day trip explores the Northern area of Iraq, Kurdistan, taking in the cultural, geographical and historical highlights as well as getting a greater understanding of life in this semi-autonomous region of Iraq.

Yemen Fixed Date Trip

A 7-day trip to visit the sights of mainland Yemen. You will be guided by experienced local guides and an international guide. The trip starts in Salalah, Oman and ends in Seiyun, Yemen.  


An 8-day trip to the Yemeni island of Socotra, known as the ‘Jewel of Arabia’ or the “Galapagos of the middle east”, its biodiversity lends itself to the UNESCO world heritage site.

Erbil Marathon

Erbil Marathon

This package offers travel and entrance to the Erbil Marathon 2023 There are three distances (5km, 10km and full marathon) so even if you are not a strong runner you can still take part and enjoy the event. Contact us…

Ski Iraq

A country more associated with deserts has some vast mountainous terrain in the northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region which we will explore with a qualified international ski guide. Using the experience the Untamed Borders team has of guiding and climbing in…

Madain Saleh, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Explore the history and culture of Saudi Arabia with experienced guides, taking in the sights and sounds of Jeddah, Al Ula and Riyadh. On this 8-day trip you will explore the ancient architecture, museums, local arts and crafts and a geological…

mesopotamia tour iraq

Iraqi-Kurdistan Newroz Festival

This 9-day trip explores the Northern area of Iraq, Kurdistan, taking in the cultural, geographical and historical highlights as well as getting a greater understanding of life in this semi-autonomous region of Iraq. The trips finale is a visit to…

Masmak Fort Riyadh

Riyadh Marathon

This package offers travel and entrance to the Riyadh marathon in Saudi Arabia. Contact us for more details about the 2024 package.

Interested in a trip to Iraq?

We can provide a customised trip according to your requirements, get in touch to find out more., privacy overview.

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mesopotamia tour iraq

For years, travel to the south of Iraq was deemed too dangerous, but it seems that is absolutely a thing of the past. With Baghdad well and truly recovered from conflict, new modern sections of the city seem to be popping up daily with modern shopping centres and hipster coffee shops becoming increasingly common.

The increase in safety means that now is the perfect time to begin exploring the sites of Babylon, Ur and others from the cradle of civilisation. On top of this you can now experience the most ornate and holy sites of Najaf and Karbala, and also the ecological wonder that is the southern marshes near Basra.

You may have been to Kurdistan in the north, but now is your time to head south to Baghdad!

Saudi Arabia and Iraq Winter Combo Tour

Iraq winter tour.

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My trip to Iraq was canceled, so why can’t I get my $7,590 back?

When diane gottlieb’s tour of iraq is canceled, the tour operator offers her a voucher for a future trip. but she wants a refund. can she get her $7,590 back.

A man walks past clothes for sale at the Shorja market in downtown Baghdad ahead of Eid al-Fitr celebrations, marking the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, on April 9, 2024.

Q. I paid $7,590 for a Modern Mesopotamia tour to Iraq through MIR Corporation for last fall. I also purchased insurance from AIG Travel Guard at a cost of $766, which offered 100 percent coverage for trip interruptions or cancellations. Just 14 days before the trip was supposed to start, I received a letter from MIR Corporation that they were canceling the trip because the United States government raised the security risks. They offered a voucher, which was only good for a trip to Iraq in the next two years — if there was any travel allowed to Iraq. I believe it is a worthless voucher.

I filed a claim with AIG Travel Guard, but it denied my claim. I also disputed the charge on my credit card, but my credit card company sided with MIR Corporation. I’m very frustrated by this and hope that you might be able to help me recover this money.


A. It doesn’t seem fair for a tour operator to cancel a trip and not offer a refund. But the terms of your tour say otherwise. They allow MIR Corporation to keep your money and issue a voucher for a future tour, which is exactly what they did.

Let’s break this one down. MIR Corporation specializes in tours of “under-explored destinations” (those are its words) like Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, and Uzbekistan. The paper trail between you and the company shows that it warned you of the risks of traveling to Iraq and urged you to buy travel insurance. It also clearly disclosed its terms, which were that it offers an expiring voucher when it cancels a tour.

A representative explained the reason why MIR Corporation has this policy. The tour operator had already paid its vendors and could not get a refund. But the arrangements between a tour operator and its vendors are none of your concern. The only thing that matters is the agreement you have with the tour operator.


MIR Corporation did the right thing by recommending travel insurance. But the policy you bought through AIG Travel Guard, which MIR Corporation helped facilitate, did not cover a cancellation by the tour operator. You could have bought a “cancel for any reason” policy, although it was considerably more expensive. This would have given you a refund between 50 percent and 75 percent of your prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs.

MIR Corporation also did the right thing by canceling. The US Department of State had issued a warning against travel to Iraq. You wouldn’t want to be there during an armed conflict.

Your case is a reminder to always read the contract when you sign up for a tour, or any other travel product for that matter. It’s also a reminder to read the fine print in your travel insurance. Your policy did not offer “100 percent coverage” for a cancellation, as you stated. Rather, it was a policy with a named exclusion that did not include a cancellation for security concerns.

But there were special circumstances. MIR Corporation’s voucher had to be used within two years and was only valid for its Iraq tours. At the time you contacted me, it didn’t look like there would be tours to Iraq for a while, so there was a good chance that your voucher would expire before you could use it. Also, you are 78 years old, and you suggested that you might not feel up to a tour of Iraq within the next two years.

You reached out to my advocacy team for help, and I contacted MIR Corporation on your behalf. The company agreed to offer a credit to any of its destinations for two years, and you accepted its offer.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy ( ), a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at [email protected] or get help by contacting him at .


  1. The Great Ziggurat of Ur, Iraq: True landmark of ancient Mesopotamian

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    Mesopotamia Tourism - Time traveling through millennia. Join our tours and discover the wonders of Mesopotamia, modern Iraq and Kurdistan Region! We make sure that you will have a once-in-a-lifetime in one of the most unique regions in the world - The Cradle of Civilization! Book a tour.

  3. exploremesopotamia

    Mesopotamia (from the Greek, meaning 'between two rivers') was an ancient region located in the eastern Mediterranean bounded in the northeast by the Zagros Mountains and in the southeast by the Arabian Plateau, corresponding to today's Iraq, mostly, but also parts of modern-day Iran, Syria, and Turkey.Our service includes modern 'airport to airport" transportation, the finest hotels and ...

  4. Modern Mesopotamia Tour

    Explore Mesopotamia. 14/20An Assyrian statue from the 9th century BCE on display in the Iraq Museum. Jake Smith. 15/20Dates on Inner Karada Street in Baghdad. Jake Smith. 16/20A modern street secene in Karbala. Explore Mesopotamia. 17/20The Sumerian ruins of Uruk, once ruled by Gilgamesh.

  5. Unveiling Ancient Treasures: Epic Iraq Tour

    Join Ancient Origins' exclusive tour of Iraq sacred past in Oct 2024, visiting some of the country's most important ancient sites including: ... Tell Al-Ubaid was a Sumerian city that flourished around 4000 BCE, while Eridu was a city in ancient Mesopotamia and one of the earliest cities in the world, dating back to 5400 BCE.

  6. Mesopotamia Tours

    Welcome to Mesopotamia Tours! We offer extraordinary trips with ensured safety, comfort and mind-broadening experience in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, with personalized attention 24/7 emergency assistance, we are dedicated professional guides who will meet every aspect of your need to ensure your experience is enjoyable and worthwhile.

  7. Exploring The Mesopotamian Marshes of Iraq

    The majority were displaced to areas adjacent to the drained marshes. They were forced to take up conventional agriculture, or to life in camps in other parts of Iraq. An estimated 80,000 to 130,000 fled over the border to Iran. The Marsh Arabs, who at their height numbered about half a million, have now dwindled to as few as 20,000 in Iraq.

  8. iraq_itinerary

    Day 2: Baghdad - Samarra - Ctesiphon. 7 AM - Breakfast in the hotel/There will be a briefing conducted by your tour guide. 8:00 AM - Depart for Samarra 78 miles north of Baghdad. In the medieval times, Samarra was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate and is the only remaining Islamic capital that retains its original plan, architecture, and ...

  9. Sample Sites in South Iraq

    We are a custom/bespoke tour company and will design each tour to fit your individual needs and desires (within the realm of the possible). ... EXPLORE ALL OF MESOPOTAMIA WITH THE MOST EXPERIENCED COMPANY IN THE REGION. Sample Sites in South Iraq. ... Samarra is a town in Iraq that in ancient times may once have been the world's largest city ...

  10. about

    about. Our company is owned and operated by an American with 30 years' experience in the region, who works hand in hand with a highly trained local staff. Explore Mesopotamia (formerly Kurdistan Iraq Tours USA) was the first inwardly focused Tour Company in the region and is the pioneer of all modern tourism in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

  11. Discover Mesopotamia: About Us

    Mesopotamia Tourism. is a company that specializes in providing authentic and personalized travel experiences in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. With a team of experienced local guides and a deep understanding of the region's culture and history, Mesopotamia Tourism offers unique and immersive tours that go beyond the typical tourist destinations.

  12. Iraq Tours

    Join us throughout the year where we explore the "Land between two rivers" - Mesopotamia. ... Our classic Entire Iraq tour from Baghdad to Erbil with two full weeks exploring ancient Mesopotamia! May 11 - 25th, 2024; 3790; 14 days; Itinerary Autumn 2024. Basra to Erbil Tour.

  13. Home

    Cultural Tour. Archeological Tour. Religious Tour. IRAQ: The C radle of Civi lization. Mesopotamia - the core of modern Iraq - The ancient Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians all developed great empires in the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Later on, it was ruled by the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, and the Ottoman turks. ...

  14. Mesopotamia Multi-Day Tours: Discover the Rich Cultural Heritage of

    Capitals Of Mesopotamia - 8 DaysCentral Iraq + Northwest Iraq + Kurdistan region. In this itinerary, we will take a route through the small and big capitals that existed through the past millennia. Some are to this day flourishing despite periods of ups and downs, while others remained abandoned in ruins. Tour will start in Baghdad and will end ...

  15. Iraq: Mysterious Ancient Mesopotamia: Tour Preview

    Home. Iraq: Mysterious Ancient Mesopotamia: Tour Preview. Monday October 30, 2023 11:00am EST ( Monday October 30, 2023 9:00am PDT ) Dr Micki Pistorius. Ancient Origins' Dr Micki Pistorius takes you on a virtual preview of the sites of Iraq. Starting at the ancient Marshland settlements in the south where the Euphrates and the Tigris fused ...

  16. Iraq Treasures of the South Cultural Discovery

    Visiting Iraq is a journey into the cradle of human civilization. Roam Mesopotamia, the land between the rivers of Euphrates and Tigris, and tread in the footsteps of the world's earliest civilizations. Start in Baghdad, the present-day capital of Iraq, and explore ancient Babylon—home of Mesopotamian kings. Climb the Ziggurat of Ur, believed to be the birthplace of Abraham, and boat ...

  17. A Tour of the Ziggurat of Ur

    by Ed Rogers. published on 07 February 2017. This video acts as a virtual tour of the Ziggurat of Ur (located near modern day Nasiriyah, Iraq which was in the city-state of Sumeria in Mesopotamia ). This site was originally excavated in 1922 by the tour guide's grandfather.

  18. Expedition to IRAQ 2024. Tour to IRAQ with MZUNGU EXPEDITIONS

    Mesopotamia - mainly modern-day Iraq is a trove of treasures of the ancient culture of the Arab world, like a mysterious child of early civilizations. ... TRAVEL PROGRAM: Tour to Iraq Day 1. April 22/ September 30, 2024 (Monday). ARRIVAL IN BAGHDAD Evening or night arrival in Baghdad airport. Pick-up from the airport and transfer to the hotel ...

  19. Travel to Iraq

    Cultural. 1 Place 1 Activity. This 9-day trip explores the Northern area of Iraq, Kurdistan, taking in the cultural, geographical and historical highlights as well as getting a greater understanding of life in this semi-autonomous region of Iraq. The trips finale is a visit to…. explore. from $2,750.

  20. Iraq Tours

    Iraq Winter Tour. From Baghdad to Basra we will explore and experience the wonders of Mesopotamia throughout the Republic of Iraq. Nov. 17, 2025. 8 days. US$2495.00. VIEW DETAILS. Learn more about the tours we offer to Iraq.

  21. Simulation Tour: Ziggurat of Ur

    published on 14 February 2017. This is a simulation (virtual reality) video of a reconstruction of the Ziggurat of Ur in its entirety. Ur was a city in Sumer that became dominant during the Early Dynastic Period (c. 2900-2350 B.C.E) alongside other cities such as; Uruk, Nippur, Eridu, Lagash and Kish. Creators: Hussain Yahya & ytnlrB.

  22. Mesopotamia

    Mesopotamia is a historical region of West Asia situated within the Tigris-Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent.Today, Mesopotamia is known as present-day Iraq and north-eastern Syria. In the broader sense, the historical region of Mesopotamia also includes parts of present-day Iran, Turkey, and Kuwait.. Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of ...

  23. My trip to Iraq was canceled, so why can't I get my $7,590 back?

    Q. I paid $7,590 for a Modern Mesopotamia tour to Iraq through MIR Corporation for last fall. I also purchased insurance from AIG Travel Guard at a cost of $766, which offered 100 percent coverage ...