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..."