Iraq, often heralded as the birthplace of civilization, has a rich history and is home to a staggering four World Heritage sites. This country has survived wars and economic struggles, and yet, it still preserves much of its culture. From religious sites to ruined fortresses, vast rivers, and stunning marshlands, Iraq keeps its history alive.

01Erbil Citadel

The Erbil Citadel, Kurdistan padchas / Getty Images

Explore Erbil Citadel, a fortified mound in Kurdistan that looks out over the sprawling citadel. The mound stands over 100 feet high and is the result of more than 7,000 years of construction on the site. Settlements were built on top of settlements, and as one disintegrated, or was razed by outsiders, the next would be built on the top. This 10-hectare fortified mound is now an area for houses and the Mulla Afandi Mosque.