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Mountain lovers wed above the clouds in Kurdish Iraq

Avid mountaineers Salar and Soma met while trekking in Iraqi Kurdistan, so it was only natural they would get married amid its majestic peaks, some 2,000 metres (6,500 feet) above sea level.

Mountain lovers wed above the clouds in Kurdish Iraq
Newlyweds Iraqi Kurds Salar Chomany, 34, and Soma Mohammed, 28, walk together during a trekking ceremony at Mount Halgurd, in Iraq's autotomous Kurdistan region, on the first day of their honeymoon, on August 2, 2020. The couple met while hiking in the mountain, a sport that gained popularity recently in Iraqi Kurdish areas, and decided it would be the theme of their wedding. AFP
After a ceremony above the clouds, they spent their wedding night in a tent then embarked on a honeymoon ascent of Mount Halgurd, Iraq's second highest mountain at 3,607 metres.

Salar Chomany, 34, has traversed the remote region's dramatic ridges and valleys for 12 years and turned his passion into his profession, working as a guide for energy companies exploring the region near the Iranian border.

Soma Muhammed, 28, a student of Educational Sciences in the mountain town of Koysinjaq, is also an avid trekker.

The wedding guests donned hiking boots, thick jackets and sunglasses, happy to escape the sweltering heat in the plains below where summer temperatures have topped 50 degrees celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit). 

At the joyous ceremony, guests braved the thin and chilly air to dance in circles around the bride and groom in a traditional Kurdish "dabkeh" dance. 

The newly-weds finally fell asleep in their tent after a feast of fresh fruit and cheese from the village below.

The next morning they strapped on their backpacks and headed up toward the snow-covered summit, for the first time enjoying their shared passion for the mountains as husband and wife.

Topics: Iraqi Kurdistan , Salar Chomany , Soma Muhammed , wedding , Mount Halgurd
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