Iraqi Kurds See Irbil’s Ancient Citadel as Future Tourist Draw

Iraqi Kurds See Irbil’s Ancient Citadel as Future Tourist Draw

IRBIL, Iraq -- Take a walk up to the gates of the ancient citadel thrusting from the heart of this Kurdish regional capital and it's clear that a city-wide makeover is in progress. Fancy new hotels and foreign-built office buildings rise above the din of diesel trucks and clatter of men at work.

Then turn around and look inside the fortress itself. All is quiet, save for a few peshmerga guards making tea. Police tape cordons off its deserted warrens and piles of cinderblock lay idle -- for the moment.

Kurdish authorities have big plans for the site they insist is the oldest continually inhabited settlement in the world. They envision a cultural centerpiece that will attract tourists and archeologists from around the world to experience the so-called "other Iraq."

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