Friday, 22 August 2014

A Multiplex of 14 Screens inside Family Mall

The Empire Cinemas in Erbil are the result of the successful business venture of the Lebanon-based Empire International Movie Theater Company and they are a unique entertainment attraction not only to the people in Erbil, but also to the people of the whole of the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, and further beyond.
The 14- Screen Empire Cinema Complex is located inside the Family Mall, one of the biggest and most modern malls in the city with thousands of visitors every week. The Family Mall is one of the most attractive places for people of all ages, because of its fashionable upscale stores, its fantastic, western-style diners and caf├ęs, and its entertainment venues.

Cinemas in Erbil

The first cinema, the Salahaddin Cinema, in Erbil opened in 1946 and by the end of the 1960s there were 5 cinemas in the city. Some of them were outdoor summer cinemas, while a couple of them were indoor winter cinemas with comfortable seats and modern projection devices. For the young Kurds of that time, going to the cinema was their only chance to get to know the Western culture as there was no TV in the region.

In the 70s and 80s, Erbilians seemed to love Westerns and historical films, as much as Arab and Egyptian movies with some very popular Egyptian film stars and singers. During that time going to the cinema was a major attraction especially during holidays, such as the first day of Eid al-Fitr when people flocked to the cinemas often pushing each other to get in. The last cinema in the city was established at the end of the 80s, but with the spread of home video it went bankrupt just like all the others. The opening of the Empire Cinemas in Erbil ended a long period of more than two decades during which there were no cinemas in the city.

Entertainment for Everyone

Because of the high popularity of the Family Mall, a lot of people who go there often combine shopping with going to the cinema. This is new for Erbilians, but they seem to really enjoy it. What makes it more attractive is the fact that the movies shown at the Empire Cinemas are often the latest Hollywood blockbusters shown here at the same time they are launched in the USA and in Europe. Of course, the Empire Cinemas often show box-office hits from Egypt, India, Turkey or the rest of the Arab world.

All the cinemas are equipped with the latest, state-of-the-art sound and projection technologies, with 3D viewing also available. The atmosphere is modern, pleasant and inviting, the seats are spacious and comfortable, especially in the VIP section, the lounge is furnished with beautiful comfortable couches, while the snack bar offers hot flavored pop corn, snacks for all tastes, and a variety of refreshments.

Location and Contact Information

The Empire Cinemas in Erbil are located in the prestigious 100 Meter Road next to the Fun Family Amusement Park.  For information about films, times, prices, or to watch trailers of films, you can visit their website: or you can call on +964 750 2100100 or +964 750 2200 200.

Summary: After more than two decades, the Empire Cinemas in Erbil opened to bring the people of Erbil and the Kurdistan Region the pleasurable experience of going to the cinema. The 14-Screen Complex, which is located inside the Family Mall, offers 3D viewing, state-of-the-art sound and projection systems, VIP sections, a comfortable lounge, and a snack bar with refreshments, pop corn, and a variety of snacks.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Kurdish 'Arab Idol' Contestant Promotes Iraqi Kurdistan

parwas hussein arab idol
 When she stepped into the realm of art and music as a contestant on the Arab talent show Arab Idol, Parwas Hussein did not know that she would become an idol in the eyes of the people of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and gain widespread popularity.
Hussein, 26, has become a national idol after being accepted to the show, which airs on MBC every Friday and Saturday. Not content with merely voting by SMS, the standard way to keep participants on the show, the Kurdish people sent an official diplomatic delegation to Beirut to support Hussein.

Hussein is the first Kurdish contestant to participate in Arab Idol. She has ably passed many rounds and reached the contest's semifinals. Hussein, however, could not speak Arabic; she auditioned accompanied by a translator. Hussein would write out the lyrics of the songs, translate them into Kurdish to grasp the meaning and then memorize the Arabic lyrics. Despite this, the judges were impressed by her talent and she was admitted to the show.

Arab Idol is the Arab version of Pop Idol, created by Simon Fuller and distributed by the British company FremantleMedia. The first season of Arab Idol began Dec. 9, 2011, and aired throughout the world on MBC1.

In support of Hussein, The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) sent Deputy Prime Minister Imad Ahmad and his wife to Beirut to participate in one of the episodes.

The media described Hussein as an ambassador of Iraqi fraternity.

On Friday [May 31] Ahmad appeared in the audience watching the show and supporting Hussein. He was warmly welcomed by the show's hosts.

Kurdish support, however, did not stop there. A mass campaign was launched on social-media websites — namely, Facebook and Twitter. When Ahlam, an Arab Emirati singer and one of the judges, said during the second episode that Hussein represents Iraq and not the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (which is a part of Iraq), she was fiercely criticized by the Kurdish members of the audience. Subsequently, Ahlam offered her apologies to the Kurdish people, and Hussein was introduced in the show as a Kurdish contestant from the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. In a letter addressed to the Kurdish people, Ahlam apologized for the statement that was seen as offensive. Ahlam said she considered Hussein's participation in the show to be a “message of love and peace.”

The letter, titled “My message to the Kurdish people, Ahlam,” which was posted on Facebook, reads: “In response to the reaction of the Kurdish people following yesterday’s episode, I want to clarify that I did not intend to offend the Kurdish people. [Hussein's] participation communicates a sublime message, one of peace and love. She represents the place she came from. Since she sang in Arabic, we did not hesitate to welcome her talent. She also sang in Kurdish and delighted us.”

Ahlam not only apologized, but in her letter she also announced her desire to perform in Erbil, especially after becoming acquainted with Kurdish music through Hussein. She wrote on her Facebook page, “Soon, I will hold a concert for my Kurdish fans in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region [to express] my respect and love. And there will be a big surprise, as Parwas will perform with me.”

The support continues. The general committee for tourism, affiliated with the Ministry of Municipalities and Tourism in the KRG, sent an official invitation to the show's judges to visit the Kurdistan Region when the current season ends.

Nader Rosti, spokesman for the general committee, told Al-Monitor that what pushes them to receive the judges in Kurdistan is the direct and indirect support they showed in introducing the region as a touristic country that continues to blossom.

He added, “There is no doubt that one of our aims is to introduce tourism in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region to foreign countries by means of different media outlets. This show contributed to introducing Kurdish tourism to the Arab countries. They mentioned, more than once, that Kurdistan is a touristic country that continues to blossom. This is very important to us.”

“This show enjoys wide popularity in the Arab world. It was one of the reasons Kurdish tourism, heritage and culture were introduced to a wide spectrum of Arabs, notably the youth, who watch the show. We hold this in high esteem, and that is why we sent a thank-you letter to encourage them further. We also invited them to visit the tourist areas and to further promote tourism in the Kurdistan Region.”

Kurdish writer Fawzi al-Atrushi, who serves as the undersecretary of the Kurdish Ministry of Culture, dedicated an article to Hussein in which he said, “Revenge, retaliation and taking sides against the others will only usher in more grudges and will further widen the gaps that separate people from their fellow humans.”

He continues: “The solution is to integrate and familiarize oneself with the other without, of course, forgetting about identity — the identity of language, culture and the history that has always been a solid Kurdish identity, having withstood extreme duress. Hussein sends a message in which she tells us that we can applaud, vote for her and like her only because she is able to strike awe in us. And that is what happened.”

During Arab Idol episodes, the Kurdish contestant has performed many Kurdish songs and has introduced Kurdish music and heritage to the Arab world while wearing traditional Kurdish attire in some episodes. Hussein captivated the Arab audience when she performed in Kurdish and Arabic in the same song.

It is worth noting that Erbil, the largest city of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, was named the "2014 Arab Tourism Capital" by the Arab Ministries of Tourism. The KRG is exerting strenuous efforts to introduce the city to the Arab world and attract Arab tourists to visit.


Haifa Wehbe asks ex-hubby: Did you leave me because of the Muslim Brotherhood?

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but Haifa Wehbe is much stronger than that - she just asks and gets the answers she wants!

In an interview with TV host Samar Yousri on the "Layla Hamra" (Red Night) show, the Lebanese diva admitted to having asked her ex-hubby Ahmad Abu Hashima why he'd left her, and whether it was because of pressure from the Muslim Brotherhood - as many still speculate.

But the answer was simply "no"! The loyal ex-wife said that she believed Ahmad at the time and never questioned him again. As if he'd tell her if it was!

As for the filthy rich singer's dowry, which was said to be worth millions, Haifa laughed off the rumor and said that it constituted of one golden Lira and a hard copy of the Holy Quran, reports Laha Magazine.

But what made Haifa such a tough cookie in the first place? She says it's all thanks to the boarding school she attended as a child and the tough forms of discipline they used, which included hitting them. Ouch!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Erbil International Airport - The Safe Gateway To And From Iraq

Being one of the most important airports in the Middle East, Erbil International Airport, in the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, has once more been voted as the Best Emerging Markets Airport with fewer than 5 million passengers per year in African, Asian, and Middle Eastern countries. This is a significant distinction awarded to Erbil Airport by an International Jury during the Airport Show in Abu Dhabi for two years in a row – 2012 and 2013.

People who had flown to Erbil about 7 or 8 years ago and fly here again now are pleasantly surprised by how much this Kurdistan airport has changed and grown. From the small provincial airport of the past, Erbil Airport has turned into one of the most modern, largest and best equipped airports in the Middle East, thus being equivalent to major Western airports.

Before the liberation of Iraq from the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, Erbil Airport was a small military base. After the liberation, the vision of the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government to turn Iraqi Kurdistan into a safe and prosperous area that would attract investors and entrepreneurs led to the opening of Erbil Airport in 2005. However, it took five more years of hard work for its technical standards and passenger facilities to be perfected so that it could become a Middle Eastern hub for regional and international passenger and cargo flights.
Erbil International Airport

Today, Erbil International Airport is probably the most important airport in Iraq because of its safety and security and it is the airport that acts as the major gateway for people who want to come or leave the country without having to go through the violence-plagued regions in the southern parts of Iraq.

At the same time the KRG is also planning a further expansion of Erbil International Airport, which is the largest and busiest in the region, but there are important projects under way for the expansion of the airport at the neighboring Sulaymaniyah governorate. These are project whose cost will go up to $500 million. Additionally, there are 450-million-dollar plans for the construction of another international airport in Duhok – the third of the three governorates that form the autonomous Kurdistan region.

Erbil Airport facts
  • The 4,800-meter long and 90-meter wide runway of the airport is one of the longest in the world and the only one in the region. This makes the takeoff and landing of airplanes safe even under the most difficult weather conditions.
  • The airport features 16 gates along with 6 fixed-bridge gates that make passenger boarding and un-boarding faster and easier.
  • In 2013, the terminal handled 1,193,780 passengers (a 26% increase since 2012) while its capacity is for 3 million passengers per year. At the same time cargo traffic increased by 40% compared to 2012 and went up to 38,572 tonnes.
  • On average, 3,270 people travel to and from Erbil Airport on a daily basis, while the average passenger flights go up to 17 per day connecting Erbil to 30 different cities in 18 countries.
  • At the moment, there are 22 Iraqi, Middle Eastern, and International Airlines that fly to Erbil from and to a large number of destinations.
  • European destinations include Vienna, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Munich, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Larnaca, and Gothenburg.
  • Middle Eastern, Turkish and Arab destinations include Cairo, Istanbul, Ankara, Amman, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Doha, Tehran, Beirut, Antalya, Basra, Najaf and Baghdad. There are also flights to Tbilisi and Batumi in Georgia.
  • Some of the airlines that fly to Erbil Airport are: Iraqi Airlines for all domestic and some European destinations, Austrian Lines, Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air, Emirates, Zagros Airlines, Fly Dubai, Lufthansa, Atlas Jet, Germania, Pegasus Airlines, Middle East Airlines, TunisAir and a few more.
  • The airport has special VIP areas for businessmen who travel in private jets, and a separate VIP area for diplomats and politicians.
  • The airport is only 7 km from the city of Erbil and taxi fare to and from the city center is about $15 - $20.
  • Erbil Airport was designed by the renowned UK-based Scott Wilson Group; its main contractor was the Turkish Makyol Cengiz, while its total cost of $550 million was fully covered by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Oil Companies in Erbil - The Most Promising Sector in Iraqi Kurdistan

After years of war, mass killings, poverty, and suffering, the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq seems to have left the difficult times behind, has turned over a new leaf and looks ahead to a brighter, more promising and more prosperous future. Among the most important contributing factors for economic growth are the 45 gas and oil companies in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan.

The region has always been known for its rich oil and gas resources, but during the Saddam Hussein dictatorship the Kurdish people had never enjoyed the financial benefits from the wealth of their homeland. Instead, wars and unfair attacks had forced a large number of Kurds to seek refuge to neighboring or far away countries.

During the last decade, and after the end of the dictatorship, the Regional Kurdistan Government has been successful in attracting significant foreign investments in the oil industry, which has formed the basis for further financial development in sectors such as construction of luxury accommodation, hotels, retail, telecommunications and entertainment.

Gas and Oil Companies in Erbil

According to existing listings in Erbil company directories, there are currently 45 oil and gas companies in the city which can secure a substantial income for the region. Moreover, by building local refineries, the Kurdistan Regional Government has managed to cover the needs of the local people and local industries for different kinds of fuel, which further contributes to the growth of the economy of the region.

Today the ten most active oil companies in Erbil are: Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Total, Genel Energy, DNO, Gulf Keystone Petroleum LTD, OMV, DNO, HESS, and Oryx Petroleum. According to the Annual Financial Report of the Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources, the contracts signed with several international oil companies concerning the production of oil and the selling of different refined products have been quite profitable in 2013. According to the Ministry, between 2007 and 2013 a profit of approximately 6 billion US dollars has helped cover the costs of a large number of projects in the Kurdistan region. At the same time, because of the region’s internal consumption rights, the local population has greatly benefitted from funding the provision of electricity and fresh water, the building of new schools, universities and hospitals in the region, improving and expanding the road system and assisting various projects in tourism and agriculture.

Untapped Oil Reserves
It has been estimated that the Iraqi Kurdistan has vast untapped oil reserves that can be in the range of more than 50 billion barrels. This could be a huge source of income for the region and a challenge for more foreign companies to invest in the gas and oil business despite the ongoing disputes between the Central Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Authority over the use of a new pipeline that carries and sells oil to Turkey without Baghdad’s consent. The pipeline extends from the Taq Taq oil field about 85 km from Erbil to the Ceyhan port in the south coast of Turkey.  Exports will gradually increase, but at the moment the crude oil will be kept in tanks in the Ceyhan port until a total capacity of 2.5 million barrels is reached. Then it will be sent to the Turkish Tupras refinery before it is exported to the international markets. This is a massive project of paramount financial importance for the Kurdistan region because it will show that Kurdistan will be able to prove its place in the Middle East and secure the peace and welfare of its inhabitants.

A Bright Future for the Young Kurds
As new financial opportunities appear, more and more young people will turn to higher education to get all the necessary qualifications in order to enter the competitive market of the numerous technology and oil companies in Erbil and in the extended Kurdistan region. At the same time the financial growth of the region will promote new advancements in all fields of science and improvements in the existing infrastructure of the area. Iraqi Kurdistan is a land of a promising bright future which can become a hub for business, education, tourism and personal development for all its inhabitants – and not only.

Article Source :- Click Here

Monday, 16 June 2014

The Best Hospitals in Kurdistan Iraq

There are a large number of public and private hospitals in Kurdistan, Iraq, as the Kurdistan Regional Government is supportive to most healthcare projects in the region, but the latest addition to the existing hospitals made everyone really proud.

The Kurdistan Children’s Hospital (KCH) was opened in March 2014 and it was accepted with a sigh of relief by the inhabitants of the autonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq. Up to now, the lack of such a hospital posed a threat to the lives of children who were seriously ill or those who had to deal with a life-threatening accident.
The hospital has 120 beds, accommodation facilities for parents and staff, and it provides high-standard healthcare with prominent pediatricians who have come to Erbil from international hospitals. It includes an intensive-care unit for newborn babies, an outpatient clinic, a clinic for emergencies, three operating theaters and a women’s hospital.

The Children’s Hospital, which was the dream of Dr. Shawis, belongs to and is operated by a UK-based charity organization, while substantial funding was received by the Oryx Petroleum Corporation according to the contract they had signed with the Kurdish Government.

Other hospitals in Kurdistan

•  Rezgary Hospital in Koya Street, Erbil. It was opened in 1984 and provided its much-needed healthcare services during the tough times of wars and social unrest. Today, it has 493 beds, a wide range of health departments, 12 operating theaters, and patients benefit from excellent medical services round the clock.

•  Erbil Emergency Hospital in 100m Street, Erbil. This is a new, modern hospital which was inaugurated on 15th March 2011 and provides emergency services to the inhabitants of the west part of the city. It has 170 beds, it is built on a total area of 40,000 square meters and treats all kind of emergencies such as injuries and burns. It is equipped with cutting-edge medical equipment and its staff is highly trained. Half of its $22 million cost was covered by the US Reconstruction Team and half by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

•  Shar Hospital is one of the largest hospitals in Kurdistan and is located in Malik Mahmoud Street in Sulaymaniyah, the 2nd largest city in the region. It is built on a 53-acre plot of land and it has 400 beds and 12 operating theaters. It cost $135 million, comprises all major medical departments and provides international-standard services.

•  Harem Hospital is a private hospital and is also located in Malik Mahmoud Street in Sulaymaniyah and it offers departments in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cardiology and Urology. It has 70 beds and accepts patients from all nearby towns and villages.

•  Azadi Teaching Hospital in Nakhoshkhana Road in Duhok is the only general hospital in the Duhok governorate at the moment. It is a large hospital that can accommodate 750 patients and it has all major departments including Cardiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Psychiatric, and an Emergency Department. The hospital has 373 doctors and 915 people of medical staff.

•  Faruk Medical City is one of its kind! It is located in Sulaymaniyah and is the combination of a top-class hospital and a 5-star hotel. It has 210 beds in 53 clinics, the newest medical equipment, and the most qualified staff available. It was built by Faruk Mustafa Rassool, one of the richest businessmen in Iraq, whose vision was to bring a major change in the health sector. The FMC patients can choose a room with sitting and dining area, one of the 21 luxury suites, or one of the three presidential suites. The hospital has 120 doctors and 400 highly-trained nurses who are there for the patients 24/7.  Next to the hospital, there is a luxury hotel to accommodate the relatives who accompany the patients.

Faruk Medical City is the best of the existing hospitals in Kurdistan, but unfortunately it is only affordable to the very rich. Who knows, one day all hospitals may be like this…

Article Source :- Click Here

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Erbil Airport

The beautiful city is a hub of traditions supported with speedy modern development. It offers people a racial collection of culture. Best known for its prosperous history, beautiful landscapes and especially for the generosity of the inhabitants, it is seeing a great growth in terms of tourism. Apart from scenic beauties, it is also well known for its resource rich region which helps in rapid economic growth, making it a one stop destination for investors all around. Owing to the rise in tourism, this is getting connected with countries across, which has favored the air traveling.   

Erbil international airport, which apparently is an international one is a gateway towards success plus intensification of Kurdistan.  It is designed by Scott Wilson Group. Its headquarters is in UK, this group is an award winning firm famous for its unique designs with engineering. 

The airdrome is built near the old, which was onst 2003.
erbil international airport
a military field. Due to certain drawbacks of the earlier airfield, the need for a new was felt by the authorities. Owing to the hard efforts of Kurdistan Regional Government, it was set to have its own gateway to the world in addition to thus the entire renovation work began on July 1

In the same year, in the month of December, the airport landed its first regular service. Simultaneously the work for improvement continued under the supervision of KRG PM Mr. Nechirvan Barzani. It has special terminals for VIP which includes visiting dignitaries plus Diplomats. It is located close to Central city thus reducing long transfers from along with to the airstrip. The overall expense for its construction went upto 550 million US dollars, entire sum was raised by KSG.

Facility of travelling via air has indeed developed it more thereby seeking attention from all over the world.