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Iraq Overview

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Ibn Battuta joined a group of pilgrims returning to Iraq after completing his first Hajj. He left Makkah on 17th November 1326. The caravan reached the Mesopotamia basin where they were greeted by a party from the Iraqi city of Kufa. About six days later they reached al-Najaf a few miles away from the Euphrates. This entire course of journey took about 44 days.

 

In his Rihla Ibn Batutta says "...then we travelled to Baghdad, the abode of Peace and Capital of Islam..". A very different picture from the current day Iraq!. Probably not the best place to take a holiday right now!.

Iraq has land borders with Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The area has been inhabited for over thousands of years and known as the "Cradle of Civilization". It is a country with rich culture and huge historical importance in the Muslim world.

Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, has been one of the most important cities as a centre of learning and culture in the Muslim world for a few centuries. It was the seat of the Abbasid Caliphate until the destruction of the city by the Mongols. The Grand Library of Baghdad, also called the House of Wisdom, was completely destroyed during the Mongol invasion. Baghdad still has one of finest Museums showcasing the ancient civilization of the region.The Baghdad Zoo has also been recently reconstructed.

Iraq is also home to a number of sites significant for Shia Muslims with Karbala being the most important. It is the location of Al Abbas Masjid and the Husayn (radiallahu-anhu) tomb.

The city of Najaf according to some has the tomb of the Ali ibn Abi Talib (radiallahu-anhu). The tomb is located in the Imam Ali Masjid. Kufa and Najf were the first citiesreached by Ibn Battuta entering into Iraq.

Samarra is the location of the Al-Askari Masjid. It has tombs of Imam Ali al-Hadi (R.A) and Imam Hassan al-Askari (R.A). The Al-Kadhimiya Masjid in Kadhimiya houses the tombs of Imam Musa al-Kadhim (R.A) and Imam Muhammad at-Taqi (R.A). The masjid also houses the graves of Shaykh Mufid and Shaykh Nasir ad-Din Tusi.

Located about 170Km south of Baghdad is the ancient city of Kufa. Located on the banks of the Euphrates River, Ibn Battuta reached the city of Kufa while travelling along the Euphrates.

Basra is another city that has lot of importance in the Islamic history. Built in 636 CE, Basra is located on the banks of Shatt al-Arab. The old masjid in the city is the first masjid in Islam to be built outside the Arabian Peninsula.

Iraq has some noteworthy archaeological sites including Ashur, the former capital of the Assyrian Empire and also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Hatra is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Babylon is one of the most impressive remains in the country. Nineveh is a 3,000 year old city, the remains of which lie across the Tigris. Ctesiphon and Ur are also ancient cities.

The long established markets in the towns and cities of Iraq are known for their silverware and copperware. Some of the local delicacies of the country include kebabs, shawarma, kibbeh, masgouf, maqluba, dolma and mahshi.

  • Iraq Overview

    Ibn Battuta joined a group of pilgrims returning to Iraq after completing his first Hajj. He left Makkah on 17th November 1326. The caravan reached the Mesopotamia basin where they were greeted by a party from the Iraqi city of Kufa. About six days later they reached al-Najaf a few…
  • Kufa and Najaf Overview

    Kufa and Najf were the first citiesreached by Ibn Battuta entering into Iraq. Najaf is a city in Iraq of religious significance to the Shia Muslims. Ibn Battuta reached the city of Najaf 44 days after leaving Makkah. He stayed on in the city for a few days and visited…
  • Euphrates and Tigris Overview

    Euphrates along with Tigris define the region of Mesopotamia. The two rivers were the cause of flourishing civilizations from a very early time, which gave rise to the region being called the "Cradle of Civilization".

  • Basra Overview

     

    Situated in lower Mesopotamia, Basra is an important port city close to the border of Kuwait. It is also the second biggest city of Iraq. The city is a part of the historic area of Sumer.

  • Baghdad Overview

    Although Baghdad is now undergoing another period of turmoil in its long history, the first name of the city was Madinat al-Salaam or "City of Peace". This is the name given to the city by its builder, Abbasid Caliph Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur, the 2nd Abbasid Caliph. He…
  • Mosul Overview

    Known for the manufacture of the Muslin cloth and Mosul marble, Mosul is located in northern Iraq and is the capital of the Ninawa Governate. This is now the second largest city in Iraq.

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Iraq Info

ADMINISTRATIVE / COMMERCIAL CAPITAL: Baghdad

GEOGRAPHY

Iraq is bounded by Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Spanning an area of 437,072 km2 , Iraq mainly consists of deserts and mostly composed of mountains in the north of the country.

DEMOGRAPHY

A population of close to 30.3 Million. Muslims account for about 97% of the population.

CLIMATE

Hot and subtropical. In most parts of the country summer temperatures average above 40 °C (104 °F) and winter temperatures ranges between 15 °C to 19 °C (59 °F to 66.2 °F).

LANGUAGES SPOKEN

Arabic and Kurdish are the two official languages. Syriac and Azeri are widely used as well.

LOCAL TIME

GMT+3 hrs throughout the year

BUSINESS HOURS

Government:
8 AM to 2 PM
General: 8 AM to 5 PM
(Saturday to Wednesday are the working days of the week. Thursday & Friday are considered as weekends)


HOLIDAYS

National Day: October 3rd
May Day: May 1st
Republic Day: July 14th
Christmas Day: December 25th

Muslim Festivals (Based on the lunar calandar):
Id-ul-Fitr
Id-ul-Adha
Milad-un-Nabi
Islamic New Year

CURRENCY

Iraqi Dinar

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS

Police/ Emergencies: 104/122
Fire: 115

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