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Basra Overview

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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.

Basra holds a lot of importance in the Islamic history. Built in 636 CE, Basra is located on the banks of Shatt al-Arab. The city was established during the time of Umar (radiallahu-anhu) in 17 AH (639 AD). The old Masjid in the city is the first Masjid to be built outside the Arabian Peninsula.

At the time when Ibn Battuta visited the city, it had shrunk as a result of attacks from the Mongols and the Grand Masjid, the landmark of the city stood about 2 miles outside the city.

Some of the governors of Basra who were prominant Sahabas were Abu-Musa al-Asha'ari, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Abdullah ibn al-Harith and Mus`ab Ibn al-Zubayr (Radiallahu-anhum)

The ruins of the Sayab's house, is an important landmark in the city. The ruins are located on the Basra Corniche. The Corniche al-Basra Street also offers great views of the Shatt al-Arab.

Other important places in the city inlcude the four presidential palaces and the Sayyed Ali al-Musawi Masjid is located in the heart of the city on the al-gazear street.

Basra is also the "hometown" of the fictional character, Sinbad the Sailor. In the centre of the Shatt Al-Arab lies the Sinbad Island, extending till the bridge Khaled.

The Basra Land is among the oldest theme parks in the city. The Basra Sports City is among the largest sports cities in the Middle East. The Akhora Park built on the al-Basra Street is one of the oldest parks in the city.

Basra also boasts one of the Important Universties of Iraq, The University of Basrah. The Basra Airport is now being gradually restoring its services. The Indian Market or Amogaiz is one of the main markets in the city. The Hanna Sheikh bazaar is also an old market in the city.

Ibn Battuta travelled along the Tigris and reached the city of Basra towards the end of January in 1327.

He remarks in his Rihla "..Basra is one of the metropolitan cities of Iraq, and no place on earth excels it in quantity of palm-groves......The inhabitants of Basra possess many excellent qualities..."

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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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