View of the cloud-covered mountains around the megacity of Sulaymaniyah or Slemani in the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq. In the mountains, the national flag of the Kurds, green-white-red and the yellow sun in the centre, is depicted in the outline of the Republic of Kurdistan on the mountain flank of Mount Goizha. With a population of 1.6 million, Slemani is the second largest city in the region. With the prolonged violence in Iraq, its population has exploded in recent years due to its safe location just a ridge from the civil war-like conditions in Kirkuk. Nevertheless, it is still dominated by a Kurdish majority. Already since 2003, the city has developed into a cultural and university centre. Since Kurdistan had been spared most of the fighting, it also developed into a tourist stronghold, including for American soldiers.