Erbil's vibrant nightlife

"Erbil is my safest home."
Nightlife in the Kurdistan Region capital Erbil. (Photo: Goran Sabah Ghafour)
Nightlife in the Kurdistan Region capital Erbil. (Photo: Goran Sabah Ghafour)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region's capital city Erbil has many luxuries. One of these luxuries is its vibrant nightlife.

Locals and foreigners often comment on the city’s luxuriousness. "A bubble of wealth" was the term The Times' Helen Nianias once used to describe it. The international media has often referred to Erbil, and the Kurdistan Region in general, as "the other Iraq" and highlighted the ease of doing business in the autonomous region's capital. Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has also called it an "oasis of stability."

Its exciting nightlife is a testament to this stability and luxury.

"Erbil is the only city in the whole of Iraq where you can do a lot at nights," said Ahlam Ahmed, a tourist from Baghdad as she enjoyed a stroll with her friends on Ghazali Street.

"You can enjoy life here at night without worrying about anything," she added. "It is even safer for us women."

Erbil has a population of 1.5 million people. Expats, tourists, and workers from all parts of the world, especially Middle Eastern countries, consider Erbil their home.

"Erbil is my safest home," Gurmish Naeji, a Turkish business owner in Erbil, told Kurdistan 24. "I have brought my family here too. My children go to school here. We love Erbil's nightlife in a way that we don't feel homesick."

Many parts of Erbil have lively nightlife with plenty to do after dark. These include downtown, Ainkawa, the golden zone (Empire, NazNza Street, Dream City), Iskan, Shorish, Ghazali Street, and many others. And these don't even include the many luxury shopping malls, parks, teahouses, and restaurants.

Ghazali Street is located on 100 Meter Road near Ainkawa. It offers night owls cafés, restaurants, live concerts, and even cart rides.

Live music in the Kurdistan Region capital Erbil. (Photo: Goran Sabah Ghafour)
Live music in the Kurdistan Region capital Erbil. (Photo: Goran Sabah Ghafour)

"Every Friday night, I come here and enjoy a live concert performed by my favorite local singers," said Karzan Hisam, a local engineer. "Side by side with foreigners, my friends and I stand and listen to the live music, dance, and have fun."

Children enjoy cart riding on Ghazali Street.

"Often, I bring my children here, and they enjoy it so much," said Arazoo Rahman. "We adults have fun too."

Erbil also has many trendy cafés, some are even modeled after vehicles. They include the Bus Café, Plane Café and Car Café.

"Besides its safe environment, I enjoy the food of the best chefs here," Ahmed said. "Fresh and hot, that is how I like my food."

At the entrance of Ghazali Street, there are always security guards and a group of young people there, making sure every visitor has a place to park.

"When I enter the street, and I see security and people who care for our parking lot, I feel much safer," said Hisam.

"That is why people flock here. They feel safe and have fun."