• Bangladesh!

    Bangladesh: Traditional houses. Go Now!

    This low-lying country has historic ties to India and Pakistan, but today maintains a wholly unique culture. Explore Bangladesh!

  • Indonesia!

    Indonesia: Lombok. Go Now!

    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

  • Jordan!

    Jordan: Petra. Go Now!

    Tucked away in this Middle Eastern country, the famed city of Petra (pictured) links the past to the present culture. Explore Jordan!

  • Mongolia!

    Mongolia: Desert. Go Now!

    This vast country has a culture that spans past and present... a nomadic life shifting to a modern & sedentary society. Begin Your Journey!

  • Kyrgyzstan!

    Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Mountains. Go Now!

    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

Culture & Identity of Iraq

WARNING: Iraq is currently unstable, please read this travel warning before going!


For most foreigners, the way of life in Iraq is pictured as a bleak existence where the people are hidden inside to avoid violence and war. However, much of violence in the country is now subdued and when that violence does erupt, it often does as a political statement, which means it is not directed as the overwhelming majority of the people. For this majority, life in Iraq is getting back to normal as people go to work or school during the days, spent time with family or friends evenings, and religion contributes to the culture and way of life.

Despite the returning normalcy in Iraq, the country remains fairly diverse in ethnicity, geography, jobs, politics, and the degree of religious observance. About two thirds of the population is urbanized, while many of the remaining third hold jobs in agriculture. There is also a significant Kurdish population in the country, which has a different culture and lifestyle from that of the ethnically Arab Iraqis.

For most Iraqis the lifestyle begins with religion and community. The people's Islamic faith greatly dictates working hours and culture. Friday is the holy day in Islam so Fridays are off of work as are Thursday afternoons. Many people also participate in the five daily prayers required by Islam, giving more structure to their daily schedule.

Communities tend to be close in the country; many evenings it is not uncommon to find men socializing out in public and women together in the home. This becomes more accurate in smaller towns and villages where community is the center of life for many people.

Today freedoms are improving in Iraq as many women are highly educated and the separation between the sexes is shrinking. For some western-styled clothing is more common and some of the more conservative Islamic laws are being ignored; for example, today alcohol is legal, although still rarely consumed. Iraq is ever changing and while many may imagine the country as a military fortress, for many of the locals in Baghdad and other areas near military bases, a military convoy is simple ignored as it is a common sight. Life in Iraq for the locals is getting back to normal, although few foreigners see this side of their lives.


Iraq is a country that is and has been divided by the people's refusal to identify in a similar manner. National identity and other large ways to unite have been rejected by the people as they don't view themselves as one in the same, but as individual ethnic groups or as adherents to a particular religious branch. Although primarily Muslim, the people are very divided by Shi'a and Sunni Muslims as this is a major source of how the people identify. The people also tend to identify with their ethnic group, which includes the Arab, Kurds, and other smaller groups. This disunity in identity has prevented much unification among the people and has caused great discontent and accusations among the people who find themselves as citizens of the same country, but citizens of a country with no strong unifying identity.

This page was last updated: December, 2013