The sun is beating down on us. The ruins are shining through the gaps in the bushes on the hillside. Finally, we turn onto the concrete road leading to Lalish. A barrier across the road prevents vehicles going any further.
A sweating Peshmerga with a machine gun asks us what we are looking for. We tell him. He nods with his head then tells us to park our car and take off our shoes. Nobody can enter Lalish, the most sacred city of the Yazidis, with their shoes on.