Tuesday, February 23, 2021

2021 Travel the World - Week 8

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world, so I continued the series in 2020 and here I am in 2021, the third year of traveling the world. 

This week's country is...


Iraq, officially known as the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia.

Iraq is 438,317 square miles, about the size of California or twice the size of Idaho. It shares a border with six nations: Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi ArabiaSyria, and Turkey.

Iraq’s longest shared border is with Iran at 906 miles.

Iraq is shaped roughly like a piece of pie and is almost completely surrounded by land, except for a 36-mile stretch of coastline along the northern edge of the Persian Gulf.

Approximately half of Iraq is covered by inhospitable desert.

The Tigris and Euphrates are the two major rivers of Iraq. These rivers contribute significantly toward making the land of Iraq very fertile.

Iraq is essentially two countries, with the two main ethnic groups that live there: the Arabs and the Kurds. 

Iraq has a dry season and a wet season. During the wet season, from November to April, the country can get almost 40 inches of rain. In the dry season, between May and October, the temperature can reach up to 125 F.

Sand and dust storms rage for 20 to 50 days each year in Iraq, mostly during the summer. Sandstorms can reach heights of 50 feet. Dust storms reach an average height of 3,000 to 6,000 feet.

Iraq has, on occasion, been plagued by swarms of 40-80 million locusts that can travel more than 8 miles per day!

Iraq grows wheat, rice, barley and vegetables; they also rear cattle. Its industry consists of petroleum, chemicals, textiles and construction materials.

Iraq also exports crude oil.

The country’s first productive oil well was drilled in 1927 in Baba dome.

Iraq’s oil reserves (approximately 150 billion barrels) are the fifth largest in the world. 

Mountains make up about 20% of Iraq. The two main mountain chains are the Taurus, on the border with Turkey, and the Zagros, on the border with Iran. The mountains are the only parts of Iraq that still have forests.

Ancient Iraq was the birthplace of some of the world’s most important inventions, such as the 60-second minute and the 60-minute hour, the wheel, writing, the first accurate calendar, the first maps, and the first schools.

Traditionally, marriages in Iraq are arranged, though more and more Iraqis are choosing their own spouses, especially in larger cities.

Almost half of all married couples in Iraq are first or second cousins.

Iraqi families are usually large and family relationships are close. Most families live in one house, which is expanded when the family grows.

It is not considered rude in Iraq to eat food quickly or without utensils. In fact, it is a sign to the host or hostess that the food is delicious. Iraqis are also extremely offended if the family pet comes near the table during the meal.

If someone admires an Iraqi’s possession, such as a vase, the Iraqi will usually insist that the person takes it. Therefore, it is proper etiquette to avoid lavishly praising another person’s possessions.

The national bird of Iraq is the Chucker Partridge.

Dance has played an important role in Iraq culture for thousands of years. One dancing style in Iraq, the hacha’a, is similar to belly dancing, but there is more neck and hand motion and less hip movement. A woman must have long hair because part of the dance involves swinging her hair to the music.

The traditional music of Iraq is the maqam, which is based on Arabic poetry and is very heart wrenching and slow. 

Iraq banned karate films in 1979. 

Before 2003, the Baghdad Zoo was the largest zoo in the Middle East and was home to more than 600 animals. However, after the invasion of Iraq, the zoo sustained considerable damage, and looters stole many animals leaving only 50 animals.

Soccer is the most popular sport in Iraq. Iraqis also enjoy basketball, boxing, weight lifting, horseback riding, and horse races.

Carp in Iraq can grow to weigh up to 300 pounds, and sharks from the Persian Gulf swim up Iraq’s rivers and marshes.

Iraq has more than 22 million date palms and is one of the top three date producers in the world.

The famous children’s story Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves was written in Iraq about 1,000 years ago.

The Iraqi desert is home to many types of scorpions. Some can grow up to 8" long.

The Iraqi desert is home to the dangerous saw-scale viper. Many scientists consider it the most dangerous snake in the world. The viper is known to strike without provocation and even chase its victims. Its bite often results in death.

Iraqis have been keeping bees for 5,000 years. Production of honey and its trade is a major industry in Iraq. Honey is known as a miracle cure in the country, and has the ability to treat headaches, arthritis and many other ailments. 

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Iraq... The common superstition of being afraid of black cats originally began in Iraq.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Gerda Steiner All Cats stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Cougar 110# White and SU Bumble Bee CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangle and SU Circles

Embellishments: Paper Studio Mini Brads and SU Ribbon


kiwimeskreations said...

What an ancient and fascinating country Jeanette - loved reading about it!
Your card is a real sweetie - love that putty tat. And no, they are not bad luck!!
Stay safe

Beth Norman-Roberts said...

Very cute. What a funny superstition, eh?

Lynn McAuley said...

Such a cute kitty with all those birthday balloons!