View of Mosul along the river Tigris.
WARNING: In June 2014 Mosul as well as the whole of Ninaweh province was captured by the Al Qaida-affiliated armed group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Iraqi army is gearing up for a counteroffensive. Mosul and its surroundings should be considered a war zone and all travels are strongly discouraged. See War zone safety

Mosul (Arabic: الموصل‎ al-Mawṣil, Maṣlawī Arabic: al-Mōṣul, Assyrian: ܢܝܢܘܐ Ninaweh, Kurdish: Mosul/Ninawa, Turkish: Musul) is a city in Iraq's Al Jazira region, and is the country's second largest city by population. Its religious makeup is one of the most diverse in the country.

Get in

At the moment it is not recommended to visit Mosul, or any other part of Iraq, as a tourist due to the ongoing conflict.

All flights arrive at Mosul International Airport (IATA: OSM), the international traffic is however limited to flight connections with Dubai and Istanbul. Overland travel is possible, Mosul is along Highway 1 & 2 but can be quite dangerous with sporadic attacks on vehicles travelling along the roads. It will also take a long time due to numerous traffic checks. A night train from Gaziantep started running in early 2010 but is now cancelled until further notice. Services linking Baghdad with Mosul are supposed to start "soon".


NOTE: Substantial damage has been done to UNESCO-listed heritage and historic sites throughout Nineveh province by Daesh extremists; much has been looted or destroyed. Do not presume any of the historical treasures listed to be still extant. (April 2015)

Mosul is rich in old historical places and ancient buildings: mosques, castles, churches, monasteries, and schools, many of which have architectural features and decorative work of significance. The town center is dominated by a maze of streets and attractive 19th century houses. There are old houses here of beauty. The markets are particularly interesting not simply for themselves alone but for the mixture of types who jostle there such as Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Turcoman, Armenians, Yazidi, Mandeans, Roma and Shabaks.

Mosques and Shrines

Churches and Monasteries

Mosul has the highest proportion of Assyrian Christians of all the Iraqi cities, and contains several interesting old churches, some of which originally date back to the early centuries of Christianity. Its ancient Assyrian churches are often hidden and their entrances in thick walls are not easy to find. Some of them have suffered from overmuch restoration.

Other Attractions


Nineveh map of city walls and gates

Just across the river and ever closer to expanding Mosul are the great ruins of Nineveh, an ancient Assyrian city and the capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Once the largest city in the world and covering and area of some 750 hectares, it was besieged, destroyed and left unpopulated after the 612 BC battle of Nineveh. There have been repeated archaeological projects and some half-finished attempts at reconstructions, but unfortunately the site suffers from rapid decay due to lack of protection from the elements, vandalism and looting.

The ruins of Nineveh are surrounded by the remains of a massive stone and mudbrick wall dating from about 700 BC.


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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, September 27, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.