Suli smiles

By Sazan M. Mandalawi:

Known as Kurdistan’s cultural capital, it looks like the city of Slemani is smiling after a period of disappointed frowns. Not just any smile, but the modest smile that come from the heart, that makes the eyes sparkle and unveils dimples in the cheeks.

I notice this as I wait for the arrival of a burger at the Zara restaurant: coming from neighbouring Erbil I feel like a tourist in a Kurdistani city. Young girls alone, men in three-quarter shorts, laptops and iPods: it’s hard to make sense that Slemani is an Iraqi city.

Slemani, or Suli, as it is known among new generation Kurds, is known for the outgoing and socializing nature of its citizens. People from Slemani have always been known to be growing socially and intellectually ahead of the infrastructural developments surrounding them.

Once feeling blue, ignored and let down, this time round as I visit the city there is a sense of action and vividness in the atmosphere -which coincides well with the locals’ lively attitudes.

“Suli is in a transition period at the moment,” affirms Meran Mubarak, a new college graduate. He continues: “this is because development has finally started in the area.”

Suli’s wide smile can be felt from a distance as you reach the city that is growing on hill tops and mountains. Towers and soaring buildings are thriving. There is certainly work being done.

Driving through the high and low roads, elegant buildings appear to be made by convoluted buildings blocks, too fancy and dynamic to be real.

Home town of Kurdistan’s most prominent writers and poets, the city labeled as the region’s cultural capital is undoubtedly blossoming. Jen Abdulla, also a fresh college graduate, having returned from the UK to permanently live in Slemani, says the city has recently had a ‘make-over’.

“Overall the progress of Slemani is not only more enjoyable for the local citizens but is more welcoming for tourists who are essential to the economical progress of the city,” explains Abdulla.

Recently the Gulf News released an article stating that by 2015 Kurdistan expects to welcome at least 5 million tourists. By then Slemani may open its arms for a large portion of these tourists if it continues to keep this pace of development.

It is evident that Slemani has become a city that you look forward to returning to..

Sitting at the elevated Azmar hill, looking down at Suli sparkle in lights at night, one can only smile with it. Suli doesn’t deserve to frown anymore. And by the looks of it, it most likely won’t frown again.

Sazan M. Mandalawi is an author, journalist, columnist at the Kurdish Globe and graduate of politics and international relations. Her blog is at:

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2 Responses to Suli smiles
  1. bamo
    September 16, 2011 | 21:02

    dast xosh zor zor jwana..hewat bardawamy

  2. Haval
    September 18, 2011 | 12:54

    Sazan ,young talented ,beautiful and clever.if she started now ,will be a novelist by her later live and top journalist.i wish her all success

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