Zagros Mountain Trail officially inaugurated in Erbil
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On Monday, the official launch event for the Zagros Mountain Trail was held, the first long distance hiking trail in the Kurdistan Region.
According to the official website of the trail, it is a 215 km long trail through the Kurdish region. It begins in the village of Shush, and takes walkers along ancient pilgrimage routes, trading paths, and shepherds' tracks to reach the foot of Mount Halgurd in the east.
Anisa Mehdi, executive director of the Abraham Path Initiative, said that the Initiative has supported the development of the trail since 2018, with their expertise and funding.
“Since 2007, our approach has been to work with local partners to develop more than 2,000 kilometers of walking trails. We focus on creating trails where hospitality is essential to the culture. Kurdistan is a perfect fit,” she said.
“We specialize in places where tourists don’t usually go, like mountains, deserts, the countryside, and farmlands.”
“For example, in Jordan and in Sinai, Egypt, where Abraham Path was involved in trail development, families have earned enough from guiding and hosting visitors to improve their property, maybe build a guesthouse, and send their children to universities.”
“We were inspired by Kurdistan‘s diverse landscapes and rich cultural, linguistic, and religious history here. It all deserves to be seen and understood more broadly. “
“I am excited for what’s ahead for all of us as the Kurdistan Trails for Development grows, and the Zagros Mountain Trail becomes a destination for more and more travelers from home and abroad,” she added.
It was a pleasure to be at the launch of the @ZagrosTrail with Anisa Mehdi, executive director of the @abrahampath which helped fund the establishment of a 215km trail through Kurdistan’s majestic mountains and beautiful, untamed landscapes. Congratulations @LaweenMhamad… pic.twitter.com/hENBaV4uRk— Bayan Sami Rahman (@BayanRahman) October 31, 2023
Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Masrour Barzani for Foreign Affairs and Climate Change and the former KRG representative in the USA, said in the past she was contacted by Mehdi on creating a mountain trail in Kurdistan.
“She informed me about the trails and asked if my office would help, and I was delighted to help and of course, as well as the Office of the Prime Minister.”
“Historically, the people of Kurdistan have fled to the mountains for safety, hence the saying no friends of the mountains,” she also said. “Although these days, the majority of the people of Kurdistan live in cities, we still see ourselves as mountain people.”
“The talk of the trail has already put Kurdistan on the international hiking map. There have been articles in the New York Times Magazine, in Lonely Planet tourist guide, the Times newspaper, and many other international news organizations.”
She further contended that the objectives of the trail align with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s goal to diversify the economy.
“We are committed to job creation and we are committed to protecting our environment. We're committed to supporting rural communities economically and enabling them to protect themselves from the escalating effects of climate change.”
“Today is the day that I was dreaming of seven years ago. Every step I was hiking, I learned something new, which made me amazed by the beauty of Kurdistan,” said Lawin Mohammed, co-founder of the Zagros Mountain Trail.
“So I imagine how it will make a positive impact for foreigners. The Zagros Mountain Trail's capital is [an example of] the hospitality of Kurds, the beauty of Kurdistan's landscape and the good connection of Kurds with mountains. I hope that Zagros Mountain Trail will be the beginning of many other trails because Kurdistan beauty can not be shown in one trail.”