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Kurdistan's geography and climate

SUN, 27 JUN 2010 16:53 | KRG Cabinet

The Kurdistan Region comprises parts of the three governorates of Erbil, Suleimaniah and Duhok.

It borders Syria to the west, Iran to the east, and Turkey to the north, lying where fertile plains meet the Zagros mountains. It is traversed by the Sirwan river and the Tigris and its tributaries, the Great Zab and the Little Zab.

Area: 40,643 square kilometres [1]

Population: 3,757,058 [2]

Capital city: Erbil (also known as Hewler)

The mountains of the Kurdistan Region have an average height of about 2,400 metres, rising to 3,000–3,300 metres in places. The highest peak, Halgurd, is near the border with Iran and measures 3,660 metres. The highest mountain ridges contain the only forestland in the Region.[3]

Annual rainfall is 375-724mm. [4]

The climate of the Kurdistan Region is semi-arid continental: very hot and dry in summer, and cold and wet in winter.

Spring is the most beautiful season in Kurdistan and the time when Kurds celebrate Nawroz, the Kurdish New Year, on the spring or vernal equinox. Mean high temperatures range from 13-18 degrees in March to 27-32 degrees in May.[5]

The summer months from June to September are very hot and dry. In July and August, the hottest months, mean highs are 39-43 degrees, and often reach nearly 50 degrees.[6]

Autumn is dry and mild, and like spring is an ideal time of year to travel in the Region. Average temperatures are 24-29 degrees in October, cooling slightly in November.[7]

Winters are mild, except in the high mountains. Mean winter high temperatures are 7-13 degrees Celsius, and mean lows are 2-7 degrees Celsius.[8]

[1] KRG-administered territory only. Compiled by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) from various national and regional sources: International Boundaries from National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) Digital Chart of the World (DCW). The primary source for the DCW database is the Operational Navigation Chart series co-produced by the military mapping authorities of Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States.

[2] According to Oil-for-Food Distribution Plan, approved by the UN, December 2002.

[3] United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): http://sea.unep-wcmc.org/latenews/Iraq_2003/facts.htm.

[4] Derived from the Global Agro-Ecological Zones Study, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Land and Water Development Division (AGL), with the collaboration of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), 2000. Data averaged over a period of 37 years. Raster data-set has been exported as ASCII raster file type.

[5] US Air Force Combat Climatology Center.

[6] US Air Force Combat Climatology Center.

[7] US Air Force Combat Climatology Center.

[8] US Air Force Combat Climatology Center.


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Kurdistan has at least 1,307 known archaeological sites.

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The Kurdistan Region is an ideal destination for those seeking unspoiled mountain scenery and ancient archeological sites off the beaten track.

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Some of the key events in the Kurdistan Region’s history up to the 19th century.

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National holidays and key dates in the Kurdistan Region’s history

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Key dates in the Kurdistan Region’s history

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  • 16th March 1988: Halabja Day, commemoration of chemical weapons bombardment on the city of Halabja.

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  • Kurdistan’s investment law: The friendliest in the region

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