While filming on location in Northern Iraq in 2010, our director suddenly ordered our small convoy to take a detour. "A film-worthy moment," she cried, pointing at some activity in the distance. It was a traditional Kurdish open-air wedding. Imagine the guests' reactions when three strange vehicles pulled up unannounced. Being of Kurdish descent, our director was able to communicate with the bride and groom's family, securing their permission to allow us to film the joyous occasion. While she steered our cameraman between the happy celebrants, members of our party were invited to participate in the traditional wedding dances. While I'm certainly no dancer, I believe even Michael Flatley of 'Lord of the Dance' fame would have struggled to perfect some of the shimmies!
Unlike most of Iraq's arid landscape, the northern region of Kurdistan is breathtakingly scenic. High mountains; green valleys; natural springs: it's no wonder it's referred to as the Switzerland of the Middle East.
Kurds are a proud people. They're also magnanimous hosts. Sumptuous spreads were provided wherever we travelled.
I forget the name of the ancient fortress town, but as we gazed down from the high ramparts, we learnt from our guide that the three Magi—the three wise men who paid homage to the infant Jesus—hailed from this very spot.
On another memorable occasion we were invited into the sacred valley town of Lalish. It is the holy burial site of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir—a central figure of the Yazidi faith—and therefore the Yazidi's holiest of temples. Speaking in her native Kurmanji tongue, a Yazidi priestess splashed water from the sacred Zamzam spring and blessed our onward travels. #filmingonlocation #adventure #middleeastadventure #cinematography #circledance #weddingdance #weddingcrasher