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Baghdad, the capital of Iraq


Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. Located along the Tigris River, the city was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate.


Baghdad has always played an important role in Arab cultural life and has been the home of noted writers, musicians and visual artists. Famous Arab poets and singers such as Nizar Qabbani, Umm Kulthum, Fairuz, Salah Al-Hamdani, Ilham al-Madfai and others wrote beautiful poems and sang for Baghdad.


Al-Faw Palace . Also known as the Water Palace for it's locatation besides 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.

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 meters in diameter in the center of an artificial lake. A museum, library, cafeteria, lecture hall, and exhibition gallery are located in 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 only open 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 missils.

National Theatre of Iraq. The theatre was looted during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, but efforts are underway to restore the theatre.

Iraqi National Orchestra. Rehearsals and performances were briefly interrupted during the Second Gulf War, but have since returned to normal.