Baghdad: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Baghdad is located in Iraq
Coordinates: 33°20′00″N 44°26′00″E / 33.3333333°N 44.4333333°E / 33.3333333; 44.4333333
Country  Iraq
Province Baghdad Governorate
 - Governor Hussein Al Tahhan
 - Total 1,134 km2 (437.8 sq mi)
Elevation 34 m (112 ft)
Population (2004)[1][2]
 - Total 6,554,126
  Approximate figures

Baghdad (Arabic: بغدادBaġdād, Persian: بغداد) , meaning "Given by God (in Persian)", is the capital of Iraq and of Baghdad Governorate, with which it is coterminous. Having a municipal population estimated between 5 and 7.5 million, it is the largest city in Iraq[1][2] and one of the two largest in the Arab World (including Cairo).

Located on the River Tigris, the city dates back to the 8th century and was once the centre of the Muslim world.



There have been several rival proposals as to its specific etymology. The most reliable and most widely accepted among these is that the name is a Persian compound of Bağ "garden" + dād "fair", translating to "The fair Garden",[3][4] or Persian compound of Bag "god" + dād "given", translating to "God-given" or "God's gift", whence Modern Persian Baɣdād. This in turn can be traced to Old Persian and Sanskrit Bhaagadata. Another leading proposal is that the name comes from Middle Persian Bāgh-dād "The Given Garden". The name is pre-Islamic and the origins are unclear, but it is related to previous settlements, which did not have any political or commercial power, making it a virtually new foundation in the time of the Abbasids. Mansur called the city “Madinat as-Salam”, or “City of Peace”, as a reference to paradise. This was the official name on coins, weights, and other things.





On 30 July 762 the caliph Al Mansur founded the city.[5] 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".[6] The city's growth was helped by its location, which gave it control over strategic and trading routes (along the Tigris to the sea and east-west from the Middle East to the rest of Asia). Monthly trade fairs were also held in this area. Another reason why Baghdad provided an excellent location was due to the abundance of water and its dry climate. Water exists on both north and south ends of the city gates, allowing all households to have a plentiful supply, which was very uncommon during this time. Baghdad reached its greatest prosperity during the reign of the caliph Harun al-Rashid in the early 9th century.

Zumurrud Khaton tomb in Baghdad,1932

Baghdad eclipsed Ctesiphon, the capital of the Persian Empire, which was located some 30 km (19 mi) to the southeast, which had been under Muslim control since 637, and which became quickly deserted after the foundation of Baghdad. The site of Babylon, which had been deserted since the 2nd century BC, lies some 90 km (56 mi) to the south.


In its early years the city was known as a deliberate reminder of an expression in the Qur'an, when it refers to Paradise.[7] Four years before Baghdad's foundation, in 758, 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 grand city. The framework of the city itself is two large semicircles about 19 km (12 miles) in diameter. July was chosen as the starting time because two astronomers, Naubakht Ahvaz and Mashallah, believed that the city should be built under the sign of the lion, Leo.[8] Leo is significant because he is the element of fire and symbolises productivity, pride, and expansion. The bricks used to make the city were 18” on all four sides. Abu Hanifa was the counter of the bricks and he developed a canal, which brought water to the work site for the use of both human consumption and the manufacturing of the bricks. Also, throughout the city marble was used to make the buildings and marble steps led down to the river’s edge. Within the city there were many parks, gardens, villas, and beautiful promenades which gave the city an elegant and classy finish.[9] The city was designed as a circle about 2 km in diameter, leading it to be known as the "Round City". The original design shows a ring of residential and commercial structures along the inside of the city walls, but the final construction added another ring, inside the first.[10] In the centre of the city lay the mosque, as well as headquarters for guards. The purpose or use of the remaining space in the center is unknown. The circular design of the city was a direct reflection of the traditional Arab urban design. The ancient Sasanian city of Gur is nearly identical in its general circular design, radiating avenues, and the government buildings and temples at the centre of the city.

The surrounding wall

The four surrounding walls of Baghdad were named Kufa, Basra, Khurasan, and Damascus; named because their gates pointed in the directions of these destinations.[11] The distance between these gates was a little less than a mile and a half. Each gate had double doors that were made of iron; since the doors were so heavy it took several men to open and close them. The wall itself was about 44 m thick at the base and about 12 m thick at the top. Also, the wall was 30 m high, which included merlons, a solid part of an embattled parapet usually pierced by embrasures. This wall was surrounded by another wall with a thickness of 50 m. The second wall had towers and rounded merlons, which surrounded the towers. This outer wall was protected by solid glacis, which is made out of bricks and quicklime. Beyond the outer wall was a water filled moat.[12]

Golden Gate Palace

In the middle of Baghdad, in the central square was the Golden Gate Palace. The Palace was the residence of the caliph and his family. In the central part of the building was a green dome that was 39 m high. Surrounding the palace was an esplanade, a waterside building, in which only the caliph could come riding on horseback. In addition, the palace was near other mansions and officer’s residences. Near the Gate of Syria a building served as the home for the guards. It was made of brick and marble. The palace governor lived in the latter part of the building and the commander of the guards in the front. In 813, after the death of caliph Amin the palace was no longer used as the home for the caliph and his family.[13] The roundness points to the fact that it was based on Arab.[14] The two designers who were hired by al-Mansur to plan the city's design were Naubakht, Zoroastrian who also determined that the date of the foundation of the city would be astrologically auspicious, and Mashallah, a Jew from Khorasan, Iran.[15]

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Qasr-Al-Khalifa or Abassid Palace in Samarra was built in 221 AH (AD 836) and is one of the most famous of Islamic palaces in the world.

The Abbasids and the round city

The Abbasid Caliphate was based on them being the descendants of the uncle of Muhammad and being part of the Quraysh tribe. They used Shi’a resentment, Khorasanian movement, and appeals to the ambitions and traditions of the newly conquered Persian aristocracy to overthrow the Umayyads.[16] The Abbasids sought to combine the hegemony of the Arabic tribes with the imperial, court, ceremonial, and administrative structures of the Persians. The Abbasids considered themselves the inheritors of two traditions: the Arabian-Islamic (bearers of the mantle of Muhammad) and the Persian (successors to the Sassanid monarchs). These two things are evident from the construction, which is modeled after Persian structures and the need of Mansur to place the capital in a place that was representative of Arab-Islamic identity by building the House of Wisdom, where ancient texts were translated from their original language, such as Greek, to Arabic. Mansur is credited with the “Translation Movement” for this. Further, Baghdad is also near the ancient Sassanid imperial seat of Ctesiphon on the Tigris River[17].

A centre of learning (8th to 13th centuries)

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 empire, facilitating the introduction of 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.[18] Several estimates suggest that the city contained over a million inhabitants at its peak.[19] Many of the One Thousand and One Nights tales are set in Baghdad during this period.

Panoramic view over the ancient city of Babylon, located 85 kilometers south of Baghdad.

The end of the Abbasids in Baghdad

Suq al-Ghazel (The Yarn Bazaar) Minaret in Baghdad, Mesopotamia (Iraq). This is the oldest minaret in Baghdad. It belonged to the Caliph Mosque built by Caliph Muktafi 901–907 AD

By the 10th century, the city's population was between 1.2 million[20] and 2 million.[21] 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 Siberian steppes 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 Buyids 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.[22] On February 10, 1258, Baghdad was captured by the Mongols led by Hulegu, a grandson of Chingiz Khan during the sack of Baghdad.[23] Many quarters were ruined by fire, siege, or looting. The Mongols massacred most of the city's inhabitants, including the caliph Al-Musta'sim, and destroyed large sections of the city. The canals and dykes forming the city's irrigation system were also destroyed. The sack of Baghdad put an end to the Abbasid Caliphate, a blow from which the Islamic civilization never fully recovered.

At this point Baghdad was ruled by the Il-Khanids, the Mongol emperors of Iran. In 1401, Baghdad was again sacked, by Timur ("Tamerlane").[24] When his forces took Baghdad, he spared almost no one, and ordered that each of his soldiers bring back two severed human heads.[25] It became a provincial capital controlled by the Jalayirid (1400–1411), Kara Koyunlu (1411–1469), Ak Koyunlu (1469–1508), and the Iranian Safavid (1508–1534) dynasties.

Baghdad in 1930.

Ottoman era (16th to 19th centuries)

In 1534, Baghdad was captured by the Ottoman Turks. Under the Ottomans, Baghdad fell into a period of decline, partially as a result of the enmity between its rulers and Persia, which did not accept the Turkish control of the city. Between 1623 and 1638, it was once again in Iranian hands. 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. The Nuttall Encyclopedia reports the 1907 population of Baghdad as 185,000.

20th century

Baghdad in 1932
Baghdad in the 1970s
The unknown soldier monument in Baghdad which was built in the 1980s

Baghdad and southern Iraq were once again brought under Ottoman rule in 1638 and remained so 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 of which 140,000 were Jewish. In the 1920s, Baghdad was 40 percent Jewish. Jews made up the largest single community in the city and controlled up to 95 per cent of business.[26]

On 1 April 1941 members of the "Golden Square" and Rashid Ali staged a coup in Baghdad. Rashid Ali installed a pro-German and pro-Italian government to replace the pro-British government of Regent Abdul Ilah. On 31 May, after the resulting Anglo-Iraqi War and after Rashid Ali and his government had fled, the Mayor of Baghdad surrendered to British and Commonwealth forces.

On 14 July 1958, members of the Iraqi Army under Abdul Karim Kassem staged a coup to topple the Kingdom of Iraq. King Faisal II, former Prime Minister Nuri al-Said, former Regent Prince Abdul 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 1991 and 2003, the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq caused additional 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.

Collection of Baghdad skylines.

Main sights

Points of interest include the National Museum of Iraq whose priceless collection of artifacts were looted during the 2003 invasion, and the iconic Hands of Victory arches. Multiple Iraqi parties are in discussions as to whether the arches should remain as historical monuments or be dismantled. Thousands of ancient manuscripts in the National Library were destroyed when it was set alight by Coalition Forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Al Kadhimain Shrine in the northwest of Baghdad (in al-Kāżimiyyah) is 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 (Mohammad al-Jawad) were buried there. One of the oldest buildings is the 12th century or 13th century Abbasid Palace. The palace is part of the central historical area of the city and close to other historically important buildings such as the Saray Building and Al-Mustansiriyah School (From the Abbasid Period). Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) is Iraq's largest airport located 16 km from Baghdad's central business district. It is the home of Iraq's national airline, Iraqi Airways.

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Baghdad International Airport at the cost of US $900 million can handle up to 7.5 million passengers per year

Other sights include:

  • Baghdad Tower now the Ma'amoon Telecommunication Center tower, the tower used to be the highest point in the city and from where all Baghdad can be seen. The construction of the tower marks a period of the post-Gulf-war of 1991 reconstruction efforts.
  • The Two Level Bridge in Jadriyah (Jisr Abul Tabqain). Even though planning for this bridge began before Saddam's take over, the bridge was never built. As part of recent reconstruction efforts, the long planned bridge was built. It connects Al-Doura area with the rest of Baghdad and compliments the 14th of July Bridge.
  • Sahat Al Tahrir (Liberation Square) in central Baghdad.
  • Saray souq
  • Baghdadi Museum (wax museum)
  • Mustansiriya School, a 13th century Abbasid structure
  • Al-Zawra'a Park in Al-Mansour Area and almost in a central location of Baghdad.
  • Kahramana and the 40 Thieves Square.
  • Al Jundi Al Majhool Monument (The Monument to the Unknown Soldier).
  • Al Shaheed Monument. Monument to the Iraqi soldiers killed in the Iran–Iraq War, located on the east bank of the Tigris.
  • A wide road built under Saddam as a parade route, and across it is the Hands of Victory, a pair of enormous crossed swords cast from weapons of soldiers who died in the Iran–Iraq War under Saddam's command.

Baghdad Zoo

The Baghdad Zoo was the largest zoo in the Middle East. Within eight days following the 2003 invasion, however, only 35 of the 650 to 700 animals in the facility survived. This was a result of theft of some animals for human food, and starvation of caged animals that had no food or water.[27] Survivors included larger animals like lions, tigers, and bears.[27] Notwithstanding the chaos brought by the invasion, South African Lawrence Anthony and some of the zoo keepers cared for the animals and fed the carnivores with donkeys they had bought locally.[27][28] Eventually, L. Paul Bremer, Viceroy of Iraq from May 11, 2003 to June 28, 2004 ordered protection of the zoo and U.S. engineers helped to reopen the facility.[27]

Geography and climate

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.

Baghdad has a hot arid climate (Koppen climate classification BWh) and is, in terms of maximum temperatures, 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: rainfall is almost completely unknown at this time of year. Temperatures exceeding 50 °C (122 °F) in the shade are by no means unheard of, and even at night temperatures in summer are seldom below 24 °C (75 °F). Because the humidity is very low (usually under 10%) due to Baghdad's distance from the marshy Persian Gulf, dust storms from the deserts to the west are a normal occurrence during the summer.

In the winter, from December to February, by contrast, Baghdad has maximum temperatures averaging 15 to 16 °C (59 to 61 °F). Minima can indeed be very cold: the average January minimum is around 4 °C (39 °F) but temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F) are not uncommon during this season.

Annual rainfall, almost entirely confined to the period from November to March, averages around 140 millimetres (5.5 in), but has been as high as 575 millimetres (23 in) and as low as 23 millimetres (~1 in). On January 11, 2008, light snow fell across Baghdad for the first time in memory.[29]

Climate data for Baghdad, Iraq
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 24
Average high °C (°F) 16
Average low °C (°F) 4
Record low °C (°F) -4
Precipitation mm (inches) 31
Sunshine hours 186 198 248 270 341 420 434 403 360 279 210 186 3,535
Avg. precipitation days 6 6 5 4 2 0 0 0 0 2 3 6 34

Administrative divisions

Baghdad Tower (previously called International Saddam Tower) opened in 1994 and includes a revolving restaurant and observation deck. It has however been damaged during the war.
Baghdad as seen by Spot Satellite

The city of Baghdad has 89 official neighbourhoods within 9 districts. These official subdivisions of the city served as administrative centres for the delivery of municipal services but until 2003 had no political function. Beginning in April 2003, the U.S. controlled Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) began the process of creating new functions for these. The process initially focused on the election of neighbourhood councils in the official neighbourhoods, elected by neighbourhood caucuses. CPA convened a series of meetings in each neighbourhood to explain local government, to describe the caucus election process and to encourage participants to spread the word and bring friends, relatives and neighbours to subsequent meetings. Each neighbourhood process ultimately ended with a final meeting where candidates for the new neighbourhood councils identified themselves and asked their neighbours to vote for them. Once all 88 (later increased to 89) neighbourhood councils were in place, each neighbourhood council elected representatives from among their members to serve on one of the city's nine district councils. The number of neighbourhood representatives on a district council is based upon the neighbourhood’s population. The next step was to have each of the nine district councils elect representatives from their membership to serve on the 37 member Baghdad City Council. This three tier system of local government connected the people of Baghdad to the central government through their representatives from the neighbourhood, through the district, and up to the city council.

The same process was used to provide representative councils for the other communities in Baghdad Province outside of the city itself. There, local councils were elected from 20 neighbourhoods (Nahia) and these councils elected representatives from their members to serve on six district councils (Qada). As within the city, the district councils then elected representatives from among their members to serve on the 35 member Baghdad Regional Council.

The first step in the establishment of the system of local government for Baghdad Province was the election of the Baghdad Provincial Council. As before, the representatives to the Provincial Council were elected by their peers from the lower councils in numbers proportional to the population of the districts they represent. The 41 member Provincial Council took office in February, 2004 and served until national elections held in January 2005, when a new Provincial Council was elected.

This system of 127 separate councils may seem overly cumbersome but Baghdad Province is home to approximately seven million people. At the lowest level, the neighbourhood councils, each council represents an average of 75,000 people.

The nine District Advisory Councils (DAC) are as follows:[30]

A residential area on Haifa Street, Baghdad
Albunneya mosque in Al-Alawi district Baghdad 1973

The nine districts are subdivided into 89 smaller neighborhoods which may make up sectors of any of the districts above. The following is a selection (rather than a complete list) of these neighborhoods:


Iraqi Airways, the national airline of Iraq, has its headquarters on the grounds of Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad.[38]


The Iraqi National Orchestra, officially founded in 1959, performing a concert in Iraq in July 2007.

Baghdad has always played an important role in Arab cultural life and has been the home of noted writers, musicians and visual artists.

The dialect of Arabic spoken in Baghdad today differs from that of other large urban centres in Iraq, having features more characteristic of nomadic Arabic dialects (Verseegh, The Arabic Language). It is possible that this was caused by the repopulating of the city with rural residents after the multiple sacks of the late Middle Ages.


Two ballet dancers of the Iraqi National Ballet (which is based in Baghdad) performing a ballet show in Iraq in 2007.
Many events are hosted at the Baghdad Convention Center

Some of the important cultural institutions in the city include:

The live theatre scene received a boost during the 1990s when UN sanctions limited the import of foreign films. As many as 30 movie theatres were reported to have been converted to live stages, producing a wide range of comedies and dramatic productions.[40]

Institutions offering cultural education in Baghdad include the Academy of Music, Institute of Fine Arts and the Music and Ballet school Baghdad. Baghdad is also home to a number of museums which housed artifacts and relics of ancient civilizations; many of these were stolen, and the museums looted, during the widespread chaos immediately after U.S. forces entered the city.

During the 2003 occupation of Iraq, AFN Iraq ("Freedom Radio") broadcast news and entertainment within Baghdad, among other locations. There is also a private radio station called "Dijlah" (named after the Arabic word for the Tigris River) that was created in 2004 as Iraq's first independent talk radio station. Radio Dijlah offices, in the Jamia neighborhood of Baghdad, have been attacked on several occasions.[41]


Baghdad is home to some of the most successful football (soccer) teams in Iraq, the biggest being Al Quwa Al Jawiya (Airforce club), Al Zawra, Al Shurta (Police) and Al Talaba (Students). The largest stadium in Baghdad is Al Shaab Stadium which was opened in 1966. Another, but much larger stadium, is still in the opening stages of construction.

The city has also had a strong tradition of horseracing ever since World War I, known to Baghdadis simply as 'Races'. There are reports of pressures by the Islamists to stop this tradition due to the associated gambling.[citation needed]

Reconstruction efforts

Nodes of Development for the Private Sector Based Baghdad Renaissance Plan, with the Tahrir Square Development on the far right.

Most Iraqi reconstruction efforts have been devoted to the restoration and repair of badly damaged urban infrastructure. More visible efforts at reconstruction through private development, like architect and urban designer Hisham N. Ashkouri's Baghdad Renaissance Plan and the Sindbad Hotel Complex and Conference Center have also been made. [42] There are also plans to build a giant Ferris wheel akin to the London Eye. Iraq's Tourism Board also is 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.[43] In October, 2008, the Baghdad Metro resumed service. It connects the center to the southern neighborhood of Dora.

Major streets


Al Rasheed Street, the dome of Hayder Khana's mosque on the left
Haifa street, as seen from the Medical City Hospital across the Tigris River
  • Haifa Street
  • Hilla Road – Runs from the south into Baghdad via Yarmouk (Baghdad)
  • Caliphs Street – site of historical mosques and churches.
  • Sadoun Street – stretching from Liberation Square to Masbah
  • Mohammed Al-Qassim highway near Adhamiyah
  • Abu Nuwas Street – runs along the Tigris from the from Jumhouriya Bridge to 14 July Suspended Bridge
  • Damascus Street – goes from Damascus Square to the International Airport Road
  • Mutanabbi Street – A street with numerous books, named after the 10th century Iraqi poet Al-Mutanabbi
  • Rabia Street
  • Arbataash Tamuz (14th July) Street (Mosul Road)
  • Muthana al-Shaibani Street
  • Bor Saeed (Port Said) Street
  • Thawra Street
  • Al Qanat Street – runs through Baghdad north-south
  • Al Khat al Sare'a – Mohammed al Qasim (high speed lane) – runs through Bagdhad, north-south
  • Al Sinaa Street (Industry Street) runs by the University of Technology – centre of computers trade in Baghdad.
  • Al Nidhal Street
  • Al Rasheed Street – city centre Baghdad
  • Al Jamhuriah Street – city centre Baghdad
  • Falastin (Palestine) Street
  • Tariq el Muaskar – (Al Rasheed Camp Road)
  • Baghdad Airport Road

Sister cities

See also


  1. ^ a b Estimates of total population differ substantially. The Encyclopædia Britannica gives a 2001 population of 4,950,000, the 2006 Lancet Report states a population of 6,554,126 in 2004.
  2. ^ a b "Cities and urban areas in Iraq with population over 100,000",
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Times History of the World, Times Books, London 2000
  6. ^ Wiet, Gastron. Baghdad: Metropolis of the Abbasid Caliphate. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1971.
  7. ^ Wiet, pg. 13
  8. ^ Wiet, pg. 12
  9. ^ “Yakut: Baghdad under the Abbasids, c. 1000CE”
  10. ^
  11. ^ Wiet, pg. 14
  12. ^ Weit, pg. 14
  13. ^ Wiet, pg. 15
  14. ^ See:
  15. ^ Hill, Donald R. (1994). Islamic Science and Engineering. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press. pp. 10. ISBN 0-7486-0457-X. 
  16. ^ Atlas of the Medieval World pg. 78
  17. ^ Atlas of the Medieval World pg. 79
  18. ^ Largest Cities Through History
  19. ^ Matt T. Rosenberg, Largest Cities Through History.
  20. ^ George Modelski, World Cities: –3000 to 2000, Washington DC: FAROS 2000, 2003. ISBN 2-00309-499-4. See also Evolutionary World Politics Homepage.
  21. ^ Trudy Ring, Robert M. Salkin, K. A. Berney, Paul E. Schellinger (1996), International dictionary of historic places, Volume 4: Middle East and Africa, Taylor and Francis, p. 116 
  22. ^ Atlas of the Medieval World pg. 170
  23. ^ Central Asian world cities, George Modelski
  24. ^ Ian Frazier, Annals of history: Invaders: Destroying Baghdad, The New Yorker 25 April 2005. p.5
  25. ^ New Book Looks at Old-Style Central Asian Despotism, EurasiaNet Civil Society, Elizabeth Kiem, April 28, 2006
  26. ^ The terror behind Iraq's Jewish exodus, Daily Telegraph, 28 April 2003
  27. ^ a b c d "The Choice, featuring Lawrence Anthony". BBC radio 4. 2007-09-04. Retrieved 2007-09-04. 
  28. ^ Anthony, Lawrence; Spence Grayham (2007-06-03). Babylon's Ark; The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo. Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 0312358326. 
  29. ^, First snow for 100 years falls on Baghdad
  30. ^
  31. ^ DefenseLink News Article: Soldier Helps to Form Democracy in Baghdad
  32. ^ Zafaraniya Residents Get Water Project Update - DefendAmerica News Article
  33. ^
  34. ^ DefendAmerica News - Article
  35. ^ Democracy from scratch |
  36. ^ Leaders Highlight Successes of Baghdad Operation - DefendAmerica News Article
  37. ^ NBC 6 News - 1st Cav Headlines
  38. ^ "Iraqi Airways." Arab Air Carriers Organization. Retrieved on October 19, 2009.
  39. ^ Five women confront a new Iraq |
  40. ^ In Baghdad, Art Thrives As War Hovers
  41. ^ Gunmen storm independent radio station in latest attack against media in Iraq - International Herald Tribune
  42. ^ ARCADD
  43. ^ msnbc: Baghdad plans to build giant Ferris wheel
  44. ^ "Twinning the Cities". City of Beirut. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  45. ^ Iraqi capital of Baghdad twinned with North Yemen counterpart of Sanaa [Yemen news items 1989:Twinning]

Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 33°19′30″N 44°25′19″E / 33.325°N 44.422°E / 33.325; 44.422

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Baghdad, May 2003
Baghdad, May 2003

Baghdad is the capital of Iraq.

Travel Warning

WARNING: Baghdad is an extremely dangerous city. It is considered to be in the current war zone. Bombings, killings and severe acts of violence are notorious and can randomly happen. Under no circumstance should any tourist visit.

Once one of the greatest centres of learning and culture in the Islamic world, Baghdad has a long and illustrious history. Once a favored destination on the 'hippie trail' and packed full of sights; since the "war on terrorism" of 2003, Baghdad has since become one of the most dangerous cities on Earth. Hopefully peace will return to the city, and Baghdad will regain its rightful place amongst the best cities, but for now, it will come as no shock to anyone who has watched the news in the past decade, that Baghdad is strictly NO GO.

Travel to Baghdad is emphatically not recommended at the present time (2009), owing to wartime instability and security concerns. Westerners are particular targets of kidnapping and assassination by militant and extremist groups.

Get in

There are fligts from İstanbul to Baghdad every day at 03.15 on Turkish Airlines. [1]

There are scheduled commercial flights from Amman on Royal Jordanian Airlines [2]. This is probably the best way into Baghdad if you are not traveling on official business. You arrive in the commercial portion of the Airport.

The easiest way into the military portion of the Baghdad airport is using Gryphon Air. They fly from Kuwait. Of course, for military personnel and others traveling on official business sanctioned by the United States, the US Air Force offers flights from neighboring countries.

All flights are subject to suspension for reasons ranging from insurgent attacks on the airport to sandstorms. Realistically assume 3 or 4 days to fly in from the United States unless you have commercial tickets the whole way.

One can also enter Iraq overland from Kuwait, Jordan, Syria, Turkey or Iran.

An alternate way to get to Baghdad is to fly to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan on Austrian Airlines [3] and then travel across country. Of course, the travel between Erbil and Baghdad will be quite dangerous.

Get around

The preferred method of transportation is helicopter. If helicopter transport is not available, use of a fully armoured car or Rhino (armoured bus) is recommended.

Within the International Zone (formerly known as the Green Zone) there is a free shuttle bus service by KBR. You can also walk to many destinations in the International Zone or use a bicycle.

Map of Baghdad
Map of Baghdad


Rugs and DVDs are available to buy. Inspect the quality of rugs carefully, some are cheap Chinese made rugs, and many are extremely overpriced.


There are some Iraqi run restaurants in the International Zone. There's also Burger King, McDonalds and Subway. Lastly there is the cafeteria run by KBR.


Yes, there is drinking during down times. The International Zone is truly international. Many organizations have their own bars, some open to all.


Sleeping quarters will depend upon your organization and your rank. For many, a half-trailer is sleeping quarters. Others have a shared half trailer. A few have villas or apartments.

Stay Safe

The easiest way to stay safe in Baghdad is not to go there in the first place, except for official reasons.

Movement within Baghdad is difficult and entry into the International Zone, a.k.a. Green Zone, requires a pass or that you be accompanied by authorized officials. Iraq is a war zone and even if you're from a country which is part of the coalition, you will not be granted entry into the IZ without authorization. Most ex-pats and business travelers to Iraq hire a security detail which constantly monitors the security situation within Iraq and around Baghdad.

Travel outside the IZ is extremely dangerous. Roadside and car bombs are detonated every day in Baghdad. Many Iraqis are armed. Markets and popular gathering places are frequent targets of bombers. As a foreigner you are more likely to be targeted for kidnapping. Kidnappings are often financially motivated. These threats are not restricted to Americans or women.

You are also likely to be refused access to accommodation as Iraqis will fear being targeted for supporting the occupying forces.

See also War zone safety


There are several ways to work in Iraq. Most obvious is the United States Military [4]. Next are the government contractors, such as KBR [5]. Many contractors hire personnel with prior military experience to return to Iraq. Persons with military experience or fluent in Arabic are especially sought after. Lastly, there are civillian government agencies in Iraq. USAID [6] and the United States Department of State [7] send their own personnel as well as contractors to Iraq.

The agencies above are all relevant for US citizens; citizens of other countries with a presence in Iraq can apply for work through the respective agencies in their home country.

Travel Warning

WARNING: Employment arrangements are always made in your home country. Do not come to Iraq on your own to look for work. People have been killed attempting this.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:





From Persian بغداد (Baqdâd), Arabic بغداد (baġdād)

Proper noun




  1. The capital of, and largest city in Iraq, situated in the center of the country on the Tigris river; an ancient city and historical center of the Muslim world.

Derived terms


Simple English

Baghdad (Arabic: بغداد‎ translit: Baghdād) is the capital city and largest city in Iraq. It is the second-largest city in Southwest Asia after Tehran and the second-largest city in the Arab world after Cairo, with a population 5,772,000 (2003). Located on the Tigris River at 33°20′N 44°26′E, the city was once the center of Dar al-Islam, Muslim civilization.rue:Баґдад


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