Warte, the most famous natural attraction in the Kurdistan Region
Rich with green vistas, freshwater, and walnut trees, Warte attracts thousands of tourists each year, making it one of the most visited tourist attractions in the Kurdistan Region.
Located 182 kilometers east of Erbil in a mountainous area between Choman town and Soran city, the area around Warte’s river has been developed so tourists can stay there overnight. The river runs through the mountains. Ten cabins have been built along its banks for tourists.
“We are here to stay for three nights, enjoying the fresh, cold water and the fresh air between two mountains,” Karzan Hassan, a local tourist from Erbil, told Kurdistan 24. “We have rented a cabin for 70,000 Iraqi dinars ($48) for three nights, of course, after haggling them down as they were asking for 100,000 dinars.”
The name of the touristic place comes from Warte subdistrict, which is surrounded by 17 villages. Three thousand people from 450 families live in that area.
It has so many tall walnut trees that you cannot see the river and the villages from the sky. Local dwellers say that the trees protected them from the bombardment of Saddam Hussein’s regime in the past.
“The walnut trees were our shields in the 1980s when we were always under the threat of the Iraqi army,” said Kamaran Aziz, a local resident from Warte. “There are still traces of shrapnel on many of the trees. It is because of these trees that we are still alive.”
“Warte is the backbone of the Kurdish revolution,” Aziz added.
The natural site is now a haven for tourists coming from around Iraq.
“We have been here for a week now,” said Ammar Salim, a tourist from Baghdad visiting with his family. “Here, we see freshwater and green mountains and breathe the purest air. I don’t like to go back. I wish I could stay and live here.”