BAGHDAD

Introduction

Info Baghdad

WARNING!

 Baghdad remains one of the most dangerous cities on Earth and is emphatically NOT a tourist destination. Those who are travelling here on business are strongly advised to consult their own government first and have an armed guard. Otherwise do not even think about travelling here!

introduction

Baghdad is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Iraq. 

Located along the Tigris River, the city was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. 

Once one of the greatest centres of learning and culture in the Islamic world, Baghdad has a long and illustrious history. Once a favoured destination on the 'hippie trail' and packed full of sights, since the coalition invasion of 2003, Baghdad has since become one of the most dangerous cities on earth.

info

POPULATION : 9,028,636  
FOUNDED :  762 AD
TIME ZONE : Arabia Standard Time (UTC+3) 
LANGUAGE : Arabic
RELIGION : Muslim 97% Others 3%
AREA : 204.2 km2 (78.8 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 34 m (112 ft)
COORDINATES :
SEX RATIO : Male: 50.50%  
 Female: 49.50%
ETHNIC : Arab 80 %, Others ( Kurdish, Assyrian etc.) 20%
AREA CODE : 1
POSTAL CODE : 10001 to 10090
DIALING CODE : +964 1
WEBSITE : www.amanatbaghdad.gov.iq

Tourism

Al-Faw Palace . Also known as the Water Palace for its site beside the Tigris River. Used as a military base for US troops. 
Baghdad Zoo. The largest zoo in the country, opened in 1971. It was destroyed in the 2003 war but has quickly recovered. There are, however, few larger mammals to see. 
Swords of Qādisīyah  (Inside the Green Zone). A huge pair of triumphal arches celebrating the alleged victory over Iran. Also known as the Hands of Victory. It marks the entrances to a former parade ground. 
Monument to the Unknown Soldier . Inspired by the glorification of a martyr from the Iran–Iraq War. The monument represents a traditional shield (dira¹a) dropping from the dying grasp of an Iraqi warrior. The monument used to house a museum which is now mostly empty. Ask the Iraqi soldiers who guard the monument for permission. 
Al-Shaheed Monument  (East side of the Tigris river, near the Army Canal). Another monument dedicated to the Iraqi soldiers who died in the Iran-Iraq war. The monument consists of a circular platform 190 metres in diameter in the centre of an artificial lake. A museum, library, cafeteria, lecture hall, and exhibition gallery are on two levels underneath the domes. 
National Museum of Iraq . Covering the history of Mesopotamian culture, this museum housed a huge collection before the Iraq War. Today, many pieces have been looted and the museum is open only on special occasions. 
Umm al-Qura Mosque . A mosque built to commemorate the "victory" in the 1991 Gulf War, the minarets are shaped like barrels of guns and SCUD missiles.
Al-Kadhimiya Mosque (Northwest of Baghdad). One of the most important Shi'ite religious sites in Iraq. It was finished in 1515 and the 7th Musa ibn Jafar al-Kathim and the 9th Imams Mohammed Al-Jawad were buried there. 

History

After the fall of the Umayyads, the first Muslim dynasty, the victorious Abbasid rulers wanted their own capital to rule from. Choosing a site north of the Sassanid capital of Ctesiphon (and also just north of where ancient Babylon once stood), on 30 July 762, the caliph Al-Mansur commissioned the construction of the city, and it was built under the supervision of the Barmakids. Mansur believed that Baghdad was the perfect city to be the capital of the Islamic empire under the Abbasids. Mansur loved the site so much he is quoted saying, "This is indeed the city that I am to found, where I am to live, and where my descendants will reign afterward".

The city's growth was helped by its excellent location, based on at least two factors: it had control over strategic and trading routes along the Tigris; the abundance of water in a dry climate. Water exists on both the north and south ends of the city, allowing all households to have a plentiful supply, which was very uncommon during this time.

Baghdad eclipsed Ctesiphon, the capital of the Persian Empire, which was located some 30 km (19 mi) to the southeast. Today, all that remains of Ctesiphon is the shrine town of Salman Pak, just to the south of Greater Baghdad. Ctesiphon itself had replaced and absorbed Seleucia, the first capital of the Seleucid Empire. Seleucia had earlier replaced the city of Babylon.

In its early years, the city was known as a deliberate reminder of an expression in the Qur'an, when it refers to Paradise. It took four years to build (764-768). Mansur assembled engineers, surveyors, and art constructionists from around the world to come together and draw up plans for the city. Over 100,000 construction workers came to survey the plans; many were distributed salaries to start the building of the city. July was chosen as the starting time because two Astrologers, Naubakht Ahvazi and Mashallah, believed that the city should be built under the sign of the lion, Leo. Leo is associated with fire and symbolises productivity, pride, and expansion.

The four surrounding walls of Baghdad were named Kufa, Basra, Khurasan, and Syria; named because their gates pointed in the directions of these destinations.

Within a generation of its founding, Baghdad became a hub of learning and commerce. The House of Wisdom was an establishment dedicated to the translation of Greek, Middle Persian and Syriac works. Scholars headed to Baghdad from all over the Abbasid Caliphate, facilitating the introduction of Persian, Greek and Indian science into the Arabic and Islamic world at that time. Baghdad was likely the largest city in the world from shortly after its foundation until the 930s, when it was tied by Córdoba. Several estimates suggest that the city contained over a million inhabitants at its peak. Many of the One Thousand and One Nights tales are set in Baghdad during this period.

By the 10th century, the city's population was between 1.2 million and 2 million. Baghdad's early meteoric growth eventually slowed due to troubles within the Caliphate, including relocations of the capital to Samarra (during 808–819 and 836–892), the loss of the western and easternmost provinces, and periods of political domination by the Iranian Buwayhids (945–1055) and Seljuk Turks (1055–1135).

The Seljuks were a clan of the Oghuz Turks from the Central Asia that converted to the Sunni branch of Islam. In 1040, they destroyed the Ghaznavids, taking over their land and in 1055, Tughril Beg, the leader of the Seljuks, took over Baghdad. The Seljuks expelled the Buyid dynasty of Shiites that ruled for some time and took over power and control of Baghdad. They ruled as Sultans in the name of the Abbasid caliphs (they saw themselves as being part of the Abbasid regime). Tughril Beg saw himself as the protector of the Abbasid Caliphs.

In 1534, Baghdad was captured by the Ottoman Turks. Under the Ottomans, Baghdad continued into a period of decline, partially as a result of the enmity between its rulers and Iranian Safavids, which did not accept the Sunni control of the city. Between 1623 and 1638, it returned to Iranian rule before falling back into Ottoman hands.

Baghdad has suffered severely from visitations of the plague and cholera, and sometimes two-thirds of its population has been wiped out.

For a time, Baghdad had been the largest city in the Middle East. The city saw relative revival in the latter part of the 18th century under a Mamluk government. Direct Ottoman rule was reimposed by Ali Rıza Pasha in 1831. From 1851 to 1852 and from 1861 to 1867, Baghdad was governed, under the Ottoman Empire by Mehmed Namık Pasha. The Nuttall Encyclopedia reports the 1907 population of Baghdad as 185,000. Baghdad was also home to a substantial Jewish community, which comprised over a quarter of the city's population.

Baghdad and southern Iraq remained under Ottoman rule until 1917, when captured by the British during World War I. From 1920, Baghdad became the capital of the British Mandate of Mesopotamia and, after 1932, Baghdad was the capital of the Kingdom of Iraq. Iraq was given formal independence in 1932 and increased autonomy in 1946. The city's population grew from an estimated 145,000 in 1900 to 580,000 in 1950.

On 14 July 1958, members of the Iraqi Army, under Abd al-Karim Qasim, staged a coup to topple the Kingdom of Iraq. King Faisal II, former Prime Minister Nuri as-Said, former Regent Prince 'Abd al-Ilah, members of the royal family, and others were brutally killed during the coup. Many of the victim's bodies were then dragged through the streets of Baghdad.

During the 1970s, Baghdad experienced a period of prosperity and growth because of a sharp increase in the price of petroleum, Iraq's main export. New infrastructure including modern sewerage, water, and highway facilities were built during this period. However, the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s was a difficult time for the city, as money was diverted by Saddam Hussein to the army and thousands of residents were killed. Iran launched a number of missile attacks against Baghdad in retaliation for Saddam Hussein's continuous bombardments of Tehran's residential districts.

In 1991 and 2003, the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq caused significant damage to Baghdad's transportation, power, and sanitary infrastructure as the US-led coalition forces launched massive aerial assaults in the city in the two wars. Also in 2003, the minor riot in the city (which took place on July 21) caused some disturbance in the population.

The historic "Assyrian Quarter" of the city, Dora, which boasted a population of 150,000 Assyrians in 2003, made up over 3% of the capital's Assyrian population then. The community has been subject to kidnappings, death threats, vandalism, and house burnings. As of the end of 2014, only 1,500 Assyrians remained in Dora.

Wars in which Baghdad was involved are listed below:

Siege of Baghdad (812–813), Fourth Fitna (Islamic Civil War)
Siege of Baghdad (865), Caliphal Civil War (865–866)
Battle of Baghdad (946), Buyid–Hamdanid War
Siege of Baghdad (1157), Abbasid–Seljuq Wars
Siege of Baghdad (1258), Mongol conquest of Baghdad
Siege of Baghdad (1401), by Tamerlane
Capture of Baghdad (1534), Ottoman–Safavid Wars
Capture of Baghdad (1623), Ottoman–Safavid Wars
Siege of Baghdad (1625), Ottoman–Safavid Wars
Capture of Baghdad (1638), Ottoman–Safavid Wars
Fall of Baghdad (1917), World War I
1941 Iraqi coup d'état, World War II
Battle of Baghdad (2003), United States invasion of Iraq

Climate

Baghdad has a subtropical desert climate and is one of the hottest cities in the world.

In the summer from June to August, the average maximum temperature is as high as 44 °C (111 °F) accompanied by blazing sunshine. Even at night temperatures in summer are seldom below 24 °C (75 °F). Baghdad's record highest temperature of 124 degrees Fahrenheit (51 degrees Celsisus) was reached in July 2015.

The humidity is typically very low (under 10%) due to Baghdad's distance from the marshy Persian Gulf, and dust storms from the deserts to the west are a normal occurrence during the summer.

Winters boast mild days and chilly nights. From December to February, Baghdad has maximum temperatures averaging 15.5 to 18.5 °C (59.9 to 65.3 °F), though highs above 70 °F (21 °C) are not unheard of. Morning temperatures can be chilly: the average January low is 3.8 °C (38.8 °F) but lows below freezing only occur a couple of times per year.

Geography

The city is located on a vast plain bisected by the River Tigris. The Tigris splits Baghdad in half, with the eastern half being called 'Risafa' and the Western half known as 'Karkh'. The land on which the city is built is almost entirely flat and low-lying, being of alluvial origin due to the periodic large floods which have occurred on the river.

Economy

The city is located on a vast plain bisected by the River Tigris. The Tigris splits Baghdad in half, with the eastern half being called 'Risafa' and the Western half known as 'Karkh'. The land on which the city is built is almost entirely flat and low-lying, being of alluvial origin due to the periodic large floods which have occurred on the river.

Iraq's Tourism Board is also seeking investors to develop a "romantic" island on the River Tigris in Baghdad that was once a popular honeymoon spot for newlywed Iraqis. The project would include a six-star hotel, spa, an 18-hole golf course and a country club. In addition, the go-ahead has been given to build numerous architecturally unique skyscrapers along the Tigris that would develop the city's financial centre in Kadhehemiah.

Subdivisions

The nine District Advisory Councils (DAC) are as follows:

  • Adhamiyah
  • Karkh
  • Karrada
  • Kadhimiya
  • Mansour
  • Sadr City 
  • Al Rashid
  • Rusafa
  • New Baghdad 

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Iraq - Travel guide

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