The Babylonia region includes the provinces of Babil, Karbala, Najaf, and Qadisiyah.
Hammurabi. Nebuchadnezzar. The Tower of Babel. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The province of Babil is home to some of the most famous sites and people in all of world history. The capital, Al-Hillah, rests near the ancient ruins of Babylon itself.
Today, a quarter of Babil’s workforce is engaged in agriculture – mostly dates, wheat and barley. A former manufacturing hub, that sector is expecting significant growth as the security situation improves and the Iraqi economy expands. Due to its storied history, tourism in the province has continued even through the last decade, and as the Iraqi tourism sector recovers, Babil will reap the lion’s share of the rewards.
The Babil Investment Commission’s website is here.
The city of Karbala, capital of the governate, is a holy site for Shi’a Muslims. The shrine of Hussain ibn ‘Ali, the third Imam of Shi’a Islam, is the destination for over 30 million pilgrims every year.
Karbala is one of the richer cities in Iraq, since the tourism sector is a huge source of income. Agriculture – date farming in particular – plays a significant role in the provincial economy as well.
The Tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the First Imam of Shi’a Islam and the Fourth Rashidun (Rightly-Guided Caliph) of Sunni Islam, is in the city of Najaf. It is estimated that Najaf is behind only Mecca and Medina in terms of Muslim pilgrims per year. The second largest city in Najaf Governorate, Kufa, is home to the Great Mosque of Kufa (one of the oldest mosques in the world) and is also an important destination for pilgrims.
Like Karbala, religious tourism is a critical part of the economy in Najaf, with over 25% of the workforce is employed in the tourism sector. Livestock and agriculture (wheat, barley, date, and rice) occupy the majority of the remaining workforce, but the construction and commerce sectors expect significant growth.
One recent construction project, Al Najaf International Airport (IATA code NJF), opened in 2008 and has routes connecting throughout the Middle East. Their website is here.
Qadisiyah (also known as Diwaniyah) governate is the breadbasket of Iraq. Well-irrigated by the Euphrates River, the province enjoys an abundance of resources for a high level of agriculture. The capital of Qadisiyah, Diwaniyah, is on the rail and expressway routes connecting Basra and Baghdad.
30% of the province’s workforce is employed in agriculture. Industrial interests are expanding as well, in rubber, bricks, and textiles. The Diwaniyah Investment Commission’s website is here.