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Baghdad Overview

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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 is the grand farther of the well known Caliph of Baghdad, Harun al Rasheed.

The city was built in the 8th Century along the banks of the Tigris River. Today it is the capital of Iraq and the second biggest city in the Arab world with a population of over seven million.

 

Ibn Battuta visited Baghdad in June 1327 travelling up the Tigris. He stayed in the city for two or three weeks. In his Rihla Ibn Batutta says "...then we travelled to Baghdad, the abode of Peace and Capital of Islam.."

Baghdad was 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.

Although some of the artefacts have been stolen and some destroyed recently, the National Museum of Iraq still houses some historic artefacts and priceless collections.

Built sometime in the 12th century, the Abbasid Palace is one of the oldest buildings now in the city. Other historic buildings around this area are the Al-Mustansiriyah School and Saray Building.

The Baghdad Tower or the Ma'amoon Telecommunication Centre tower is considered as one of the highest points in the city. Other places of note include the Baghdadi Museum (a wax museum), the Al-Zawra'a Park, the Swords of Qadisiyah (a huge triumphal arch also known as the Hands of Victory), the Al-Shaheed Monument, the Khan Murjan, Al Kadhimain Masjid and the Monument to the Unknown Soldier.

 

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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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