Much of the region is typified by an extreme continental climate hot in the summer, bitterly cold in the winter. Despite this, much of the region is fertile and has historically exported grain and livestock. Precipitation varies between 200 and 400 mm a year in the plains, and between 700 and 3, 000 mm a year on the high plateaux between mountain chains.
Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. Genealogically, it is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of the Indo-European languages. It has between 16 and 35 million speakers today.
This 1995 250 Dinar note picturing Saddam Hussein was issued after Saddam's defeat in the First Gulf War. Inflation was taking a serious toll on Iraq, so this new, higher denomination was needed. At the time it was issued, it was the higherst denomination in circulation. It had an official exchange rate of over $750, however on the street it would buy only a few dollars worth of goods.
The Kurdish population of the Republic of Azerbaijan is estimated to be about 13.000, although some sources suggest numbers as large as 200.000.
Arbil is the fourth largest city in Iraq after Baghdad, Basra and Mosul.The city lies eighty kilometres (fifty miles) east of Mosul, and is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.