Gara Mountain, just 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Duhok with a peak that reaches 2,150 meters above sea level is a popular tourist spot for families seeking to play in the dense snow or those interested in recent history despite difficulties and some dangers involved reaching the mountain top.
A majority of people visiting Gara Mountain include families with children as they want to be able to enjoy playing winter games in the snow, some people bring recreational vehicles to find adventure driving on the slippery snow-covered slopes and jobs are also created for locals who sell tea or heated fava beans to visiting tourists.
Although many people enjoy their time on the mountain in the snow, a dark history looms as an abandoned palace remains at the top of the mountain. Saddam Hussein enjoyed the area so much, that he had a palace built at the top of Gara Mountain. Although much of it lies in ruins with little left of its former glory and there are said to be unexploded mines surrounding the palace as well.
Video: expats visit Saddam palace on Gara Mountain