Located in Iraqi Kurdistan's Erbil Province, close to the borders of Iran and Turkey, Rawanduz Canyon is one of the most beautiful natural spots of the country.
Flanked by vertiginous rock walls, the Rawanduz River snakes its way through the canyon. The countryside is pretty dramatic with snake like rivers moving between the canyons. The name comes from Rawn, a famous poet from the area, and Duz, which means Citadel or Tower. It’s a dry and dusty canyon in summer but lush and green from spring to autumn.
The road through the canyon is totally paved. It’s a very scenic road built between the narrow canyons in the Rawanduz area. It’s called Hamilton Road (Route 3 and Soran-Khalifan road). It was built by a New Zealander named Archibald Milne Hamilton. It connects Kurdistan with Iran, running from Erbil, through Rawandiz, to the Iranian border near Piranshahr.
The canyon is located between Khalifan, a town in Iraqi Kurdistan's Erbil Province and Soran, a city in Erbil Province, and the capital of Soran District. Travel to Iraq is advised against by most governments. Rawanduz is much safer than other parts of Iraq, because of its strong military Peshmarga forces who have successfully defended the country from ISIS, but even here it is important to always remain vigilant.
Pic: Dana Muhammad