Ranya, Visually

Ranya (Rania, Ranye) is a town in Kurdistan, northern Iraq; or Southern Kurdistan if so inclined. It’s in Sulaymaniyah Province, and two hours northeast of Sulaymaniyah (and two hours east of Erbil). The town’s pretty quiet as towns go, but I’m a city girl at heart. My boss, who is happiest up in the mountains, can’t stand the hustle and bustle and noise of Ranya (‘ha!’ I say). To me, the sounds of Ranya aren’t the sounds of a big city or even a busy town. There’s loud construction going on at odd hours of the day, and the calls for prayer five times a day from a mosque in every direction create quite the cacophony, but those aren’t the sounds of a city. That’s just noise.

Anyway, much of Ranya reminds me of Nairobi. Well, okay. Not the Nairobi I know and grew up in, seeing as I’ve been downtown probably a total of ten times. Ever. In 22 years. And much of the Nairobi I know is nicer than Ranya (remember, coming from a city girl’s p.o.v.). Actually, I suppose I should say ‘more developed’ rather than nicer. Regardless, a lot of the shops, storefronts, bazaar streets – their look, sounds, smell – remind me of one side of Nairobi. But since everyone’s been clamoring for photos, here are a few I’ve taken during the few times I’m not either at home, at school, or struggling up a mountain. And don’t worry, there are more (and better) pictures to come!

Rooftop View of Ranye

Honoring Kurdish nationalism in the park

Shopping for fabric

Veggie cart and butchers at the entrance of the bazaar

Bazaar street: not a woman in sight

Kurdish man in traditional dress



Kurdish fast food

Segregated icecream parlors, where women get their own room in the back.

mmm artificially flavored and colored icecream. but it does make for a good respite from the heat

and just for funsies. our favorite “cafe”, NWA Coffee


3 responses to “Ranya, Visually

    • Thanks! It’s my first time blogging so I’m slowly getting the hang of things. And Kurdistan is incredibly beautiful, if you get the chance you must come visit. In the mean time, I’ll try and recreate, just a little bit, what it’s like here!

  1. great post and some wonderful pictures might I add. I would also like to thank you for following my blog. it fills me with joy to see a Korean American enjoining Kurdistan.

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