A rare glimpse into travels through Iraq

Norwegian Photographer Christian Lindgren has a passion for travelling to lesser-known, harder-to-reach places. His latest adventure saw him heading to Iraq, where he took the train from Basra to Baghdad, met local people, and learned about the culture. His collection of images from the trip have just been shared, and offer a rare and unique glance into life in Iraq.

A local tea house in Baghdad.
A local tea house in Baghdad. Image by Christian Lindgren

“I have always had a big interest in ancient history, so I have, over the years, done numerous trips to various countries in the Middle East, but for the obvious security reasons the southern parts of Iraq have been off-limits. Now with the situation starting to improve slightly, it was finally time to visit,” Christian told Lonely Planet Travel News.

An aerial view of Baghdad.
An aerial view of Baghdad. Image by Christian Lindgren

Christian saw Ctesiphon, the last capital of the Persian Empire on the river Tigris, as well as the Ziggurat of Dur-Kurigalzu, an enormous sandstone structure sitting in the desert. He also saw the cities of Samarra, Karbala, Najaf, Kufa and Basra. His favourite experience was roaming the bustling streets of Baghdad, where he was surprised by what he saw. “The streets were bustling with cafés. While there are armoured cars on about every street corner, they do not seem to affect local life. The people were incredibly friendly. Even after years of conflict, every single local I met welcomed me with open arms and were eager to tell how their life has been affected by war. They were amazing people,” he said. The photographer also visited tea houses, took portraits of local people and captured images of markets and shops.

Travel News - Iraq
The Al-Shaheed Monument. Image by Christian Lindgren

The visa process proved extremely difficult, with local contacts in Iraq having to apply on Christian’s behalf at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad, before he could apply at an Iraqi Embassy abroad. The whole process took around approximately six months, with special permits also being required to visit each site and city around the country.

Travel News - Iraq
Christian rode the train from Basra to Baghdad. Image by Christian Lindgren

Christian runs a website called Unusual Traveller, where he aims to inspire and offer practical information for people looking to travel to off-the-beaten path destinations around the world. He has been travelling off-and-on since 2008, with his first adventure being a six-month solo trip across India. He has also ventured to North Korea, Syria, Iran and Pakistan, among other places.

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An Iraqi culture monument in Baghdad. Image by Christian Lindgren

More information on Christian’s travels are available at Unusual Traveller.