Erbil is the capital and largest city of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Urban life in Erbil dates back at least 6,000 years, and it is possibly the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.
Between 2003 and 2014, Erbil experienced a rapid transformation as luxury hotels, shopping malls and property developments emulated the oil-fuelled growth of Dubai. Kurdistan’s growing confidence, security and economic prospects led many Kurds to return from decades of exile in Europe and North America.
The emergence in the region of ISIS during 2014 has halted this progress for the time being, and many new construction projects sit half completed around the city. In contrast, urban life in the old quarter of Erbil around the base of the citadel remains colourful and dynamic.