Akoyan, a valley rich with grapes, wine, and wild animals
Akoyan valley, locally known as “Doli Akoyan”, is not only a touristic wonder. It is also a source of the best grapes and wine in the Kurdistan Region.
The valley, 72 miles (116 kilometers) from Erbil city and only seven miles (11 km) from Rawanduz town, is located in the Faqeyan village and is rich with freshwater, tall trees, and various kinds of grapes.
The river flows between two mountains with tall trees covering both banks. Visitors can picnic and enjoy nature under the trees and in front of the river. The area attracts thousands of tourists weekly, making it one of the most famous natural sites for local and international tourists in the Kurdistan Region.
“Here is a mountainous place. Its water and greenery scenes take your breath away,” Khattab Basheer, a tourist from Basra, told Kurdistan 24. “I have been to many places in Erbil, but here is unique because you cannot see the sky because it’s all covered with tall trees. And under you, the cool freshwater flows.”
Tahseen Ibrahim is one of the farmers in Faqeyan village. He has grown up to eight kinds of grapes in the Akoyan valley, which is rich with freshwater with land suitable for growing grape trees.
“I started my research examining a number of grape types in various countries seven years ago,” he said. “After successfully planting some of them, they grew quickly and yielded grapes. Then I tried other kinds of grapes. I am glad with the result.”
There are about 100 kinds of grape trees in the Kurdistan Region, and the best one is known as “The black grape”, locally known as Rashmiri. The Kurdistan Region produces more than 30,000 tons of grapes each year.
This is good news for the winemakers.
“The grape from Doli Akoyan is one of the best qualities for wine,” said Hawar Saleem, a local winemaker.
There are also several different types of wild animals in the valley that locals do not hunt, instead letting them peacefully live and enjoy the nature.
“Besides enjoying the river, the trees, the coolness, you could also enjoy seeing some wild animals and various kinds of birds here,” said Hakar Sardar, a local tourist from Erbil. “This evening, I saw a group of brownish deer during sunset.”