Iraq has remained a centre of activity from dawn of human civilisation. Some of the world’s greatest ancient civilizations like Assyria, Babylonia, and Sumer developed in the area that now makes up Iraq. It is also proclaimed as the site for different glories of Babylonia and Nebuchadnezzar II's famous Hanging Gardens. Visitors are lured into this country for the different varieties of Iraqi dates, as they are exceptionally delicious and also for citrus fruits like oranges tasting exquisite. The country is also home to the holy sites of the Mosque of Imam Ali in Najaf and the mosques of Imam Hussein and Hadrat Abbas Shrine in Karbala.
Located in Southwest Asia, Iraq rests at the northern tip of the Persian Gulf. Its coastline along the gulf is only 30 kms (19 mi) long with a single port of Umm Qaşr. The fertile land strip between the river banks of Euphrates and Tigris is a sole exception amidst the arid Iraqi terrain. Iraq also consists of the Zagros mountain range and parts of the Syrian Desert. Iraq is potentially one of the richest countries in the world considering its enormous deposits of petroleum and natural gas. Once known as Mesopotamia, the country survived Arab, Turkish and British rule. In 1932, it achieved full independence and after the devastation of Gulf War and recent US-led attack, Iraq is gradually coming out of the remnants of Saddam Hussein era.