Kurdish Textile Museum in Erbil

Erbil’s best museums for Iraqi history, heritage and culture

Erbil, a city with ancient roots reaching back millennia, stands as a living testament to the ebb and flow of civilisations.

From its origins among the Hurrians, it has evolved under the influence of the Akkadians and Assyrians to the enduring legacies of Arab, Persian and Ottoman reigns. 

Today, following many challenging years, the city has reemerged as a dynamic tourist destination that is on the radar of travellers across the Middle East.

Erbil’s multicultural history and unique blend of old and new make it the perfect place to explore the beauty of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Visitors are drawn to the city’s rich heritage, vibrant culture, and newfound sense of safety. 

Amidst this transformation, Erbil’s museums preserve its incredible history, waiting to be explored.

Each of these is a unique window into the heritage of Iraq, making them essential stops for every curious traveller.

Kurdish Textile Museum

The Kurdish Textile Museum, established in 2004, is nestled within the ancient walls of the historic Erbil Citadel, right next to Erbil Castle.

The museum is a remarkable showcase of Kurdish craftsmanship, with a special emphasis on textiles.

Within its walls, age-old traditions spring to life. The artefacts on display, some dating back centuries, showcase the rich heritage of Kurdistan’s nomadic lifestyle.

The museum’s contemporary architectural design seamlessly complements its extensive collection, creating an inviting space where the traditional and the modern coexist in perfect harmony. 

As you explore, you’ll be transported to the past, with the sights, smells, and textures of Erbil’s artisanal traditions.

Make sure to check out the Klaw display: a striking collection of typical Kurdish headgear showcasing an incredible array of patterns and colours.

  • Where: Erbil Citadel, Erbil
  • When: Open 9am-6pm Sunday-Friday
  • Contact: +964 750 471 9483

Erbil Stones and Gems Museum

Erbil Stones and Gems Museum, conveniently situated a couple of steps away from the Kurdish Textile Museum at the heart of Erbil’s Citadel, takes visitors on a stimulating voyage through geological marvels. 

Housed in a traditional two-story building, the museum offers a breathtaking historical and architectural setting for the treasures it displays. 

With a collection unrivalled in Iraq, it features a diverse array of both common and rare stones and gems, sourced locally and globally.

Visitors can marvel at extraordinary specimens like Tourmaline from Pakistan and Apatite from Kurdistan, making Erbil Stones and Gems Museum an exceptional destination to admire Earth’s geological variety.

  • Where: Erbil Citadel, Erbil

Erbil Civilization Museum

The Erbil Civilization Museum, also situated within the Citadel, is a treasure of archaeological findings from Erbil and its environs.

While it may not have the grandeur of international museums in terms of size, its true worth lies in the historical importance of its exhibits.

Comprising three rooms primarily dedicated to statues and pottery, this museum provides an enthralling glimpse into the city’s abundant archaeological legacy.

A visit to this museum is essential for anyone seeking a brief yet immersive journey through the region’s history, spanning from the Paleolithic era to the Islamic period.

  • Where: Erbil Citadel, Erbil
  • When: Open 8am-2pm Sunday-Thursday
  • Contact: +964 770 497 1004

Syriac Heritage Museum

The Syriac Heritage Museum, located in the Christian neighbourhood of Ankawa, right on the borders of the Citadel, is a testament to the enduring legacy of the Syriac culture in Erbil. 

The museum provides an incredibly diverse collection of traditional costumes, music, everyday artefacts, and evocative photographic portraits of key figures from the Syriac cultural renaissance. 

Offering a stunning view of the ancient Qasra Hill and St. George’s Church, the museum expertly reconstructs traditional scenes, immersing visitors in the lively culture of the Syriac community.

  • Where: Ankawa, near St George’s church, Erbil
  • When: Open 9am-5:30pm Sunday-Thursday
  • Contact: +964 750 752 4708 

Turkmen Culture House

Nestled within a beautifully renovated traditional building on the western edge of the Citadel, The Turkmen Culture House is a vibrant hub of heritage and traditions.

It’s a place where visitors can discover the art, music, and lifestyle of the Turkmen people, contributing to the diverse cultural mosaic of Iraq.

Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by an enchanting interior courtyard adorned with a remarkable assortment, spanning from antique pottery and exquisite decor items to precious textiles and  handcrafted rugs.

Although it may be small in size, the experience of exploring this cultural treasure is nothing short of unforgettable.

  • Where: Erbil Citadel, Erbil