From flags to statues to street names, the city of Erbil has deliberately embraced Kurdish culture to such an extent that it almost seems a Disneyfied spectacle for tourists – except the intended audience is the Kurds themselves
The citadel in Erbil can lay claim to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited place on Earth. But towering over the old mud-brick structures, one recent addition on the hilltop stands out: a brand new gate.
The gate was built to replace another thrown up by Saddam Hussein, just one in a long line of different rulers – from the Assyrians to the Mongols to the Ottomans – who have incorporated Erbil into their empires. But since Saddam’s fall in 2003, a clear identity has come to dominate the city’s public spaces: Kurdish.