What is it like to be a tourist in Iraq?
When it comes to choosing a holiday destination what countries come into mind? United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France and Switzerland among others. However, this is not the case for one Norwegian photographer by the name Christian Lindgren.
Iraq is country that is known for turmoil or conflict. Therefore, the idea of loitering on the streets of its capital city Baghdad taking photos is out of question.
Christian Lindgren book a flight to Iraq for his unusual holiday. He visited numerous historical sites and met the locals in the country while enjoying the country’s delicacies.
All the while Lindgren documented all these experiences on photographs and videos which he shared on his social media accounts as well as on his blog.
The blogger expects that his blogging and photography will help change the perspective of the rest of the world on Iraq.
According to Christian, the country is already moving forward despite its history of turmoil. In fact what we see on media is just the bad side of the country.
Visitors from most countries require a visa in order to visit Iraq. It is not a walk in the park. You undergo a complex process in order to get a visa. Lindgren has experience on how to beat the bureaucracy.
Christian Lindgren works as a pharmaceutical worker and where he is free, he travels the world. Christina Lindgren has visited Syria, North Korea and all his encounters are well documented on his website the Unusual Traveler. He presents tips on his blog on how to visit the less touristy places around the world.
Lindgren notes that getting a tourist visa to Iraq is not easy. The process is long and time consuming.
The photographer does not lack ways of achieving his objectives. He sought the help of well-connected local person who handed his visa application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital city Baghdad.
After checking your visa application, if you have a very good reason why you want to pay them a visit, you get visa in between 3 to 4 months.
Once you get inside Iraq, you are supplied with a government licensed guide. A foreigner can travel within a city on his or her own but when moving from one city to the next, you need a guide. In addition to that, all tourists are expected to stay in hotels recognized by the government.
Christian reveals that taking photos is allowed in Iraq, there are no restrictions by the military or at the historical sites.
The residents of Iraq cities were more than willing to pose for photos with Christian. He add that even soldiers were willing to take photos.
Most people in Iraq were surprised to see a tourist in their country. That includes the staff at the airport. The tourist visa was so rare in that part of the world.
Christian was expecting to see a lot of security in the country but he got a shock of his life. People would be seen at the restaurants as well as coffee shops even late into the night. Secondly, the people he met were very friendly. You can even purchase alcohol from public shops in Baghdad.
Baghdad is depicted in Christian’s photos as being vibrant, cultured and historical in nature. Baghdad has bustling markets. However, he noted that there were armored motor vehicles all over.