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Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
and one of the largest cities in the
Arab world The Arab world ( ar, العالم العربي '), formally the Arab homeland ( '), also known as the Arab nation ( '), the Arabsphere, or the Arab states, consists of the 22 Arab countries The Arab world ( ar, العالم العربي '), ...

Arab world
, and compared to its large population it has a small area at just 673 square kilometers (260 sq mi). Located along the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at ...

Tigris
, near the ruins of the
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
city of
Babylon Babylon was the capital city of the ancient Babylonian empire, which itself is a term referring to either of two separate empires in the Mesopotamian area in antiquity. These two empires achieved regional dominance between the 19th and 15th centu ...

Babylon
and the ancient
Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia ...
capital of
Ctesiphon Ctesiphon ( ; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empir ...

Ctesiphon
, Baghdad was founded in the
8th century The 8th century is the period from 701 __NOTOC__ Year 701 ( DCCI) was a common year starting on SaturdayA common year starting on Saturday is any non-leap year A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or bissextile year) is a calendar ...
and became the capital of the
Abbasid Caliphate The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلْعَبَّاسِيَّةُ, ') was the third caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the tit ...

Abbasid Caliphate
. Within a short time, Baghdad evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center of the
Muslim world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether ...

Muslim world
. This, in addition to housing several key academic institutions, including the
House of Wisdom The House of Wisdom ( ar, بيت الحكمة, Bayt al-Ḥikmah), also known as the Grand Library of Baghdad, refers to either a major Abbasid Caliphate, Abbasid public academy and intellectual center in Baghdad or to a large private library bel ...
, as well as hosting a multiethnic and multireligious environment, garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the "Centre of Learning". Baghdad was the largest city in the world for much of the Abbasid era during the
Islamic Golden Age The Islamic Golden Age was a period of cultural, economic, and scientific flourishing in the history of Islam The history of Islam concerns the political, social, economic, and cultural developments of Muslim world, Islamic civilization. M ...
, peaking at a population of more than a million. The city was largely destroyed at the hands of the
Mongol Empire The Mongol Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries was the List of largest empires, largest contiguous land empire in history and the second largest empire by landmass, second only to the British Empire. Originating in Mongolia in East Asia, the ...
in 1258, resulting in a decline that would linger through many centuries due to frequent plagues and multiple successive empires. With the recognition of Iraq as an independent state (formerly the
British Mandate of Mesopotamia The Mandate for Mesopotamia ( ar, الانتداب البريطاني على العراق) was a proposed League of Nations mandate to cover Ottoman Iraq (Mesopotamia). It would have been entrusted to the United Kingdom The United Kingdo ...
) in 1932, Baghdad gradually regained some of its former prominence as a significant center of
Arabic culture Arab culture is the culture of the Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an ethnic group mainly inhabiting the ...

Arabic culture
, with a population variously estimated at 6 or over 7 million. In contemporary times, the city has often faced severe infrastructural damage, most recently due to the
Iraq War The Iraq WarThe conflict is also known as the Second Gulf War or the Third Gulf War by those who consider the Iran–Iraq War the first Gulf War. The war was also called the Second Iraq War referring to the Gulf War as the first Iraq war. The p ...
that lasted from 2003 until 2011, and the subsequent
insurgency An insurgency is a violent, armed rebellion Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority In the fields of sociology Sociol ...
and later the renewed
war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (new ...
that lasted from 2013 until 2017, resulting in a substantial loss of cultural heritage and historical artifacts.


Name

The name Baghdad is pre-Islamic, and its origin is disputed. The site where the city of Baghdad developed has been populated for millennia. By the 8th century AD, several villages had developed there, including a
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...

Persian
hamlet called ''Baghdad,'' the name which would come to be used for the Abbasid metropolis. Arab authors, realizing the pre-Islamic origins of Baghdad's name, generally looked for its roots in
Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after the Sasan ...
. They suggested various meanings, the most common of which was "bestowed by God". Modern scholars generally tend to favor this etymology, which views the word as a compound of ''bagh'' () "god" and ''dād'' () "given". In
Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Iranian languages * Indo-Iranians, the various peoples speaking ...
the first element can be traced to ''boghu'' and is related to Slavic ''bog'' "god",Guy Le Strange, "Baghdad During the Abbasid Caliphate from Contemporary Arabic and Persian", pg 10 A similar term in Middle Persian is the name ''Mithradāt'' (''Mihrdād'' in New Persian), known in English by its Hellenistic form Mithridates, meaning "Given by
Mithra Mithra ( ae, ''Miθra'', peo, 𐎷𐎰𐎼 ''Miça'') commonly known as Mehr, is the Zoroastrian Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is an Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest continuously-practiced organized faiths, based on the teac ...

Mithra
" (''dāt'' is the more archaic form of ''dād'', related to Latin ''dat'' and English ''donor''). There are a number of other locations in the wider region whose names are compounds of the word ''bagh'', including
Baghlan Baghlan (Dari language, Dari: بغلان ''Baġlān'') is a city in northern Afghanistan, in the eponymous province, Baghlan Province. It is located three miles east of the Kunduz River, 35 miles south of Khanabad, and about 500 metres above sea ...

Baghlan
and
Bagram Bagram (; fa, بگرام) is a town and seat in Bagram District in Parwan Province of Afghanistan, about 25 kilometers north of the capital Kabul. It is the site of an ancient city located at the junction of the Ghorband Valley, Ghorband and Pan ...
in Afghanistan, Baghshan in Iran, and
Baghdati Baghdati ( ka, ბაღდათი, tr) is a town of 3,700 people in the Imereti Imereti (Georgian alphabet, Georgian: იმერეთი) is a Mkhare, region of Georgia (country), Georgia situated western part of republic along the middle an ...

Baghdati
in
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
, which likely share the same etymological origins. A few authors have suggested older origins for the name, in particular the name ''Bagdadu'' or ''Hudadu'' that existed in
Old Babylonian Old Babylonian may refer to: *the period of the First Babylonian dynasty (20th to 16th centuries BC) *the historical stage of the Akkadian language of that time See also

*Old Assyrian (disambiguation) {{disambig ...

Old Babylonian
(spelled with a sign that can represent both ''bag'' and ''hu''), and the Babylonian Talmudic name of a place called "Baghdatha". Some scholars suggested Aramaic derivations. When the Abbasid caliph,
Al-Mansur Al-Mansur or Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur (; ar, أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصور‎; 95 AH – 158 AH (714 AD – 6 October 775 AD) was the second Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْ ...

Al-Mansur
, founded a completely new city for his capital, he chose the name Madinat al-Salaam or ''City of Peace''. This was the official name on coins, weights, and other official usage, although the common people continued to use the old name. By the 11th century, "Baghdad" became almost the exclusive name for the world-renowned metropolis.


History


Foundation

After the fall of the
Umayyads The Umayyad dynasty ( ar, بَنُو أُمَيَّةَ, Banū Umayya, Sons of Umayya) or Umayyads () were the ruling family of the Muslim caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam ...
, the first Muslim dynasty, the victorious
Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلْعَبَّاسِيَّةُ, ') was the third caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam Islam (;There ar ...

Abbasid
rulers wanted their own capital from which they could rule. They chose a site north of the
Sassanid The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, '), and also called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last before the in the mid-7th century AD. Named after the , it endured for over four centuri ...
capital of
Ctesiphon Ctesiphon ( ; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empir ...

Ctesiphon
, and on 30 July 762 the
caliph A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state {{Infobox war faction , name = Islamic State , anthem = '' Dawlat al-Islam Qamat'' {{small, ("My Ummah ' ( ar, أمة ) is an Arabic Arabic (, ' ...
Al-Mansur Al-Mansur or Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur (; ar, أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصور‎; 95 AH – 158 AH (714 AD – 6 October 775 AD) was the second Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْ ...

Al-Mansur
commissioned the construction of the city. It was built under the supervision of the
Barmakids The Barmakids ( fa, برمکیان ''Barmakīyān''; ar, البرامكة ''al-Barāmikah'');Harold Bailey, 1943. "Iranica" BSOAS 11: p. 2. India - Department of Archaeology, and V. S. Mirashi (ed.), ''Inscriptions of the Kalachuri-Chedi Era'' vo ...
. Mansur believed that Baghdad was the perfect city to be the capital of the Islamic empire under the Abbasids. The Muslim historian al-Tabari reported an ancient prediction by Christian monks that a lord named Miklas would one day build a spectacular city around the area of Baghdad. When Mansur heard the story, he became very joyful, for legend has it, he was called Miklas as a child. 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". The city's growth was helped by its excellent location, based on at least two factors: it had control over strategic and trading routes along the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at ...

Tigris
, and it had an abundance of water in a dry climate. Water exists on both the north and south ends of the city, allowing all households to have a plentiful supply, which was very uncommon during this time. The city of Baghdad soon became so large that it had to be divided into three judicial districts: Madinat al-Mansur (the Round City), al-Sharqiyya (Karkh) and Askar al-Mahdi (on the West Bank). Baghdad eclipsed Ctesiphon, the capital of the Sassanians, which was located some to the southeast. Today, all that remains of Ctesiphon is the shrine town of
Salman Pak fa, سلمان پاک , settlement_type = city , image_skyline = Multi-National Corps-Iraq commander tours famous arch DVIDS195434.jpg , caption = US troops tour Salman Pak's famous Taq ...
, just to the south of Greater Baghdad. Ctesiphon itself had replaced and absorbed
Seleucia Seleucia (), also known as or , was a major Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Syriac language, Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ Ārām''-Nahrīn'' or ܒܝܬ ܢܗܪ̈ ...
, the first capital of the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greece, Greek state in Western Asia, during the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Period, that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Sele ...
, which had earlier replaced the city of Babylon. According to the traveler
Ibn Battuta Ibn Battuta (; 24 February 13041368/1369); fully: ; Arabic: was a Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an e ...
, Baghdad was one of the largest cities, not including the damage it has received. The residents are mostly Hanbal. Baghdad is also home to the grave of
Abu Hanifa Abū Ḥanīfa al-Nuʿmān b. Thābit b. Zūṭā b. Marzubān ( ar, أبو حنيفة نعمان بن ثابت بن زوطا بن مرزبان; – 767 CE), known as Abū Ḥanīfa for short, or reverently as Imam Abū Ḥanīfa by Sunni Musl ...

Abu Hanifa
where there is a cell and a mosque above it. The Sultan of Baghdad, Abu Said Bahadur Khan, was a Tatar king who embraced Islam. In its early years, the city was known as a deliberate reminder of an expression in the
Qur'an The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text of Islam, believed by Muslims to be a revelation in Islam, revelation from God in Islam, God (''Allah''). It is widely rega ...

Qur'an
, when it refers to
Paradise In religion, paradise is a place of exceptional happiness and delight. Paradisiacal notions are often laden with pastoral A pastoral lifestyle is that of shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to season A season ...

Paradise
. It took four years to build (764–768). 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 city. July was chosen as the starting time because two
astrologers Astrology is a pseudoscience Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that claim to be both scientific and factual but are incompatible with the scientific method The scientific method is an Empirical evidenc ...
, Naubakht Ahvazi and
Mashallah ''Mashallah'' ( ar, مَا شَاءَ ٱللّٰهْ, ), also written Masha'Allah, is an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / e ...
, believed that the city should be built under the sign of the
lion The lion (''Panthera leo'') is a large Felidae, cat of the genus ''Panthera'' native to Africa and India. It has a muscular, deep-chested body, short, rounded head, round ears, and a hairy tuft at the end of its tail. It is sexually dimorphic; ...
,
Leo Leo is the Latin word for "lion". Leo or LEO may refer to: * Leo (astrology), an astrological sign * Leo (constellation), a constellation in the sky Arts and entertainment * Leo (band), a Missouri-based rock band that was founded in Clevelan ...
. Leo is associated with fire and symbolises productivity, pride, and expansion. The bricks used to make the city were on all four sides.
Abu Hanifa Abū Ḥanīfa al-Nuʿmān b. Thābit b. Zūṭā b. Marzubān ( ar, أبو حنيفة نعمان بن ثابت بن زوطا بن مرزبان; – 767 CE), known as Abū Ḥanīfa for short, or reverently as Imam Abū Ḥanīfa by Sunni Musl ...

Abu Hanifa
h was the counter of the bricks and he developed a canal, which brought water to the work site for both human consumption and the manufacture of the bricks. Marble was also used to make buildings throughout the city, and marble steps led down to the river's edge. The basic framework of the city consists of two large semicircles about in diameter. The city was designed as a circle about in diameter, leading it to be known as the "Round City". The original design shows a single ring of residential and commercial structures along the inside of the city walls, but the final construction added another ring inside the first. Within the city there were many parks, gardens, villas, and promenades. There was a large sanitation department, many fountains and public baths, and unlike contemporary
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
an cities at the time, streets were frequently washed free of debris and trash. In fact, by the time of Harun al-Rashid, Baghdad had a few thousand hammams. These baths increased public hygiene and served as a way for the religious to perform ablutions as prescribed by Islam. Moreover, entry fees were usually so low that almost everyone could afford them. In the center of the city lay the
mosque A mosque (; from ar, مَسْجِد, masjid, ; literally "place of ritual prostration"), also called masjid, is a place of worship for Muslims. Any act of worship that follows the Salah, Islamic rules of prayer can be said to create a mosque, w ...

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 Persian Sasanian
urban design While many assume urban design is about the process of designing and shaping the physical features of cities A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a comm ...
. The Sasanian city of Gur in Fars, built 500 years before Baghdad, is nearly identical in its general circular design, radiating avenues, and the government buildings and temples at the centre of the city. This style of urban planning contrasted with Ancient
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
and
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
urban planning, in which cities are designed as squares or rectangles with streets intersecting each other at right angles. Baghdad was a busy city during the day and had many attractions at night. There were cabarets and taverns, halls for backgammon and chess, live plays, concerts, and acrobats. On street corners, storytellers engaged crowds with tales such as those later told in Arabian Nights. ;Surrounding walls The four surrounding walls of Baghdad were named
Kufa Kufa ( ar, الْكُوفَة ), also spelled Kufah, is a city in Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَا ...

Kufa
,
Basra Basra ( ar, ٱلْبَصْرَة, al-Baṣrah) is an Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, ...

Basra
,
Khurasan Khorāsān ( pal, Xwarāsān; fa, خراسان, , ''Wuchang''), sometimes called Greater Khorasan, is a historical region which formed the northeast province of Greater Iran. The name signifies "the Land of the Sun" or "the Eastern Province". ...
, and
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
; named because their gates pointed in the directions of these destinations. The distance between these gates was a little less than . Each gate had double doors that were made of iron; 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
merlon A merlon is the solid upright section of a battlement A battlement in defensive architecture, such as that of city wall A defensive wall is a fortification A fortification is a military construction or building designed for t ...
s, a solid part of an embattled parapet usually pierced by
embrasure File:Pillbox embrasures, Large, on Taunton Stop Line.JPG, Pillbox (military), Pillbox stepped embrasure, Taunton Stop Line, England An embrasure is the opening in a battlement between the two raised solid portions, referred to as crenel or cren ...
s. 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 a solid
glacis A glacis (; ) in military engineering Military engineering is loosely defined as the art, science, and practice of designing and building military works and maintaining lines of military transport Military supply-chain management is a cross-f ...

glacis
, which is made out of bricks and
quicklime Calcium Calcium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ca and atomic number 20. As an alkaline earth metal, calcium is a reactive metal that forms a dark oxide-nitride layer when exposed to air. Its physical and chemical pr ...
. Beyond the outer wall was a water-filled moat. ;Golden Gate Palace The Golden Gate Palace, the residence of the caliph and his family, was in the middle of Baghdad, in the central square. In the central part of the building, there was a green dome that was 39 m high. Surrounding the palace was an
esplanade An esplanade or promenade is a long, open, level area, usually next to a river or large body of water ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a No ...

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
Al-Amin Abu Musa Muhammad ibn Harun al-Rashid ( ar, أبو موسى محمد بن هارون الرشيد, Abū Mūsā Muḥammad ibn Hārūn al-Rashīd; April 787 – 24/25 September 813), better known by his regnal name A regnal name, or regnant nam ...

Al-Amin
, the palace was no longer used as the home for the caliph and his family. The roundness points to the fact that it was based on . The two designers who were hired by
Al-Mansur Al-Mansur or Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur (; ar, أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصور‎; 95 AH – 158 AH (714 AD – 6 October 775 AD) was the second Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْ ...

Al-Mansur
to plan the city's design were Naubakht, a Zoroastrian who also determined that the date of the foundation of the city would be astrologically auspicious, and
Mashallah ''Mashallah'' ( ar, مَا شَاءَ ٱللّٰهْ, ), also written Masha'Allah, is an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / e ...
, a Jew from
Khorasan Khorasan may refer to: * Greater Khorasan, a historical region which lies mostly in modern-day northern/northwestern Afghanistan, northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan * Khorasan Province, a pre-2004 province of Iran, ...
,
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
.


Center of learning (8th to 9th centuries)

Within a generation of its founding, Baghdad became a hub of
learning Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding Understanding is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical thing, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to use concepts to model that thing. Under ...

learning
and
commerce Commerce is the exchange of goods and services, especially on a large scale. Etymology The English-language word ''commerce'' has been derived from the Latin word ''commercium'', from ''com'' ("together") and ''merx'' ("merchandise"). History ...

commerce
. The city flourished into an unrivaled intellectual center of
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...

science
,
medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...

medicine
,
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
, and
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion ...

education
, especially with the Abbasid
Translation Movement The Graeco-Arabic translation movement was a large, well-funded, and sustained effort responsible for translating a significant volume of secular Greek texts into Arabic. The translation movement took place in Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغ ...
began under the second caliph
Al-Mansur Al-Mansur or Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur (; ar, أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصور‎; 95 AH – 158 AH (714 AD – 6 October 775 AD) was the second Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْ ...

Al-Mansur
and thrived under the seventh caliph
Al-Ma'mun Abu al-Abbas Abdallah ibn Harun al-Rashid ( ar, أبو العباس عبد الله بن هارون الرشيد, Abū al-ʿAbbās ʿAbd Allāh ibn Hārūn ar-Rashīd; 14 September 786 – 9 August 833), better known by his regnal name al-Ma'mu ...
. '' Baytul-Hikmah'' or the "House of Wisdom" was among the most well known academies,When Baghdad was centre of the scientific world
. ''The Guardian''. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
and had the largest selection of books in the world by the middle of the 9th century. Notable scholars based in Baghdad during this time include translator
Hunayn ibn Ishaq Hunayn ibn Ishaq al-Ibadi (also Hunain or Hunein) ( ar, أبو زيد حنين بن إسحاق العبادي; , la, Iohannitius, syr, ܚܢܝܢ ܒܪ ܐܝܣܚܩ) (809–873) was an influential Assyrian Nestorian Christian Nestorianism is a ...
, mathematician
al-Khwarizmi Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī ( fa, محمد بن موسی خوارزمی, Moḥammad ben Musā Khwārazmi; ), Arabized as al-Khwarizmi and formerly Latinized as ''Algorithmi'', was a Persian polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμα ...

al-Khwarizmi
, and philosopher
Al-Kindi Abu Yūsuf Yaʻqūb ibn ʼIsḥāq aṣ-Ṣabbāḥ al-Kindī (; ar, أبو يوسف يعقوب بن إسحاق الصبّاح الكندي; la, Alkindus; c. 801–873 AD) was an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَب ...
. Although Arabic was used as the international language of science, the scholarship involved not only Arabs, but also Persians, ,
Nestorians Nestorianism is a polysemic Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic field. Polysemy is thus ...
,
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
,
Arab Christians Arab Christians ( ar, ﺍﻟﻤﺴﻴﺤﻴﻮﻥ ﺍﻟﻌﺮﺏ ''al-Masīḥiyyūn al-ʿArab'') are Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheis ...
, and people from other ethnic and religious groups native to the region. These are considered among the fundamental elements that contributed to the flourishing of scholarship in the Medieval Islamic world. Baghdad was also a significant center of Islamic religious learning, with
Al-Jahiz Abū ʿUthman ʿAmr ibn Baḥr al-Kinānī al-Baṣrī ( ar, أبو عثمان عمرو بن بحر الكناني البصري), commonly known as al-Jāḥiẓ ( ar, links=no, الجاحظ, ''The Bug Eyed'', born 776; died December 868/Januar ...

Al-Jahiz
contributing to the formation of Mu'tazili theology, as well as
Al-Tabari Al-Tabari (; fa, محمد بن جریر طبری, ar, أبو جعفر محمد بن جرير بن يزيد الطبري) (839–923 CE; 224–310 AH) was an influential polymath, scholar, historian and commentator on the Qur'an from Amol, ...
culminating in the scholarship on the .Gordon, M.S. (2006). Baghdad. In Meri, J.W. ed. ''Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia''. New York: Routledge. Baghdad was likely the largest city in the world from shortly after its foundation until the 930s, when it tied with Córdoba. Several estimates suggest that the city contained over a million inhabitants at its peak. Many of the ''
One Thousand and One Nights ''One Thousand and One Nights'' ( ar, أَلْفُ لَيْلَةٍ وَلَيْلَةٌ, ') is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the ''Arabian Nights'', f ...
'' tales, widely known as the ''Arabian Nights'', are set in Baghdad during this period. It would surpass even Constantinople in prosperity and size. Among the notable features of Baghdad during this period were its exceptional libraries. Many of the Abbasid caliphs were patrons of learning and enjoyed collecting both ancient and contemporary literature. Although some of the princes of the previous Umayyad dynasty had begun to gather and translate Greek scientific literature, the Abbasids were the first to foster Greek learning on a large scale. Many of these libraries were private collections intended only for the use of the owners and their immediate friends, but the libraries of the caliphs and other officials soon took on a public or a semi-public character.Mackensen, Ruth Stellhorn . (1932). Four Great Libraries of Medieval Baghdad. ''The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy'', Vol. 2, No. 3 (July 1932), pp. 279-299. University of Chicago Press. Four great libraries were established in Baghdad during this period. The earliest was that of the famous
Al-Ma'mun Abu al-Abbas Abdallah ibn Harun al-Rashid ( ar, أبو العباس عبد الله بن هارون الرشيد, Abū al-ʿAbbās ʿAbd Allāh ibn Hārūn ar-Rashīd; 14 September 786 – 9 August 833), better known by his regnal name al-Ma'mu ...
, who was caliph from 813 to 833. Another was established by
Sabur ibn ArdashirSabur ibn Ardashir ( fa, شاپور بن اردشیر; also spelled Shapur) was a Persian people, Persian statesman who served as the ''vizier'' of the Buyids of Iraq briefly in 990 and later from 996 to 999. Biography Of aristocratic origin, and ...
in 991 or 993 for the literary men and scholars who frequented his academy. Unfortunately, this second library was plundered and burned by the Seljuks only seventy years after it was established. This was a good example of the sort of library built up out of the needs and interests of a literary society. The last two were examples of ''madrasa'' or theological college libraries. The
Nezamiyeh The Nezamiyeh ( fa, نظامیه) or Nizamiyyah ( ar, النظامیة) are a group of institutions of higher education established by Khwaja Nizam al-Mulk in the eleventh century in Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and ...
was founded by the Persian
Nizam al-Mulk Abu Ali Hasan ibn Ali Tusi (April 10, 1018 – October 14, 1092), better known by his honorific title of Nizam al-Mulk ( fa, نظام‌الملک, , Order of the Realm) was a Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, histori ...
, who was vizier of two early Seljuk sultans. It continued to operate even after the coming of the Mongols in 1258. The Mustansiriyah ''madrasa'', which owned an exceedingly rich library, was founded by Al-Mustansir, the second last Abbasid caliph, who died in 1242. This would prove to be the last great library built by the caliphs of Baghdad.


Stagnation and invasions (10th to 16th centuries)

By the 10th century, the city's population was between 1.2 million
George ModelskiGeorge Modelski (born January 9, 1926 Poznań Poznań ( , , or ; la, Posnania; german: Posen; yi, פאָזנא; known also by #Names, other historical names) is a city on the Warta River in west-central Poland, in the Greater Poland region. ...
, ''World Cities: –3000 to 2000'', Washington, D.C.: FAROS 2000, 2003. . See als
Evolutionary World Politics Homepage
and 2 million. Baghdad's early meteoric growth eventually slowed due to troubles within the
Caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the title of caliph (; ar, خَلِيفَة ', ), a person considered a politico-religious successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad ...
, including relocations of the capital to
Samarra Samarra ( ar, سَامَرَّاء, ') is a city in Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق '), is a c ...
(during 808–819 and 836–892), the loss of the western and easternmost provinces, and periods of political domination by the
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
ian
Buwayhid The Buyid dynasty (also spelled Buwayhid; fa, آل بویه, Āl-e Būya), was a Shia Iranian dynasty of Daylamite origin, which mainly ruled over Iraq and central and southern Iran from 934 to 1062. Coupled with the rise of other Iranian dyna ...
s (945–1055) and Seljuk Turks (1055–1135). The Seljuks were a clan of the Oghuz Turks from Central Asia 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 Buyid dynasty of Shiites that had 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. Sieges and wars in which Baghdad was involved are listed below: * Siege of Baghdad (812–813), Fourth Fitna (Caliphal Civil War) * Siege of Baghdad (865), Abbasid civil war (865–866) * Battle of Baghdad (946), Buyid–Hamdanid War * Siege of Baghdad (1157), Abbasid–Seljuq Wars * Siege of Baghdad (1258), Mongol conquest of Baghdad * Siege of Baghdad (1393), by Timur, Tamerlane * Siege of Baghdad (1401), by Tamerlane * Capture of Baghdad (1534), Ottoman–Safavid Wars * Capture of Baghdad (1623), Ottoman–Safavid Wars * Siege of Baghdad (1625), Ottoman–Safavid Wars * Capture of Baghdad (1638), Ottoman–Safavid Wars In 1058, Baghdad was captured by the Fatimids under the Turkish general Abu'l-Ḥārith Arslān al-Basasiri, an adherent of the Ismailis along with the 'Uqaylid Quraysh. Not long before the arrival of the Saljuqs in Baghdad, al-Basasiri petitioned to the Fatimid Imam-Caliph Al-Mustansir Billah, al-Mustansir to support him in conquering Baghdad on the Ismaili Imam's behalf. It has recently come to light that the famed Fatimid ''da'i'', al-Mu'ayyad al-Shirazi, had a direct role in supporting al-Basasiri and helped the general to succeed in taking Mosul, Mawṣil, Wasit, Iraq, Wāsit and
Kufa Kufa ( ar, الْكُوفَة ), also spelled Kufah, is a city in Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَا ...

Kufa
. Soon after,Daftary, Farhad. ''The Isma'ilis: Their History and Doctrines'' Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990, 205-206. by December 1058, a Shi'i ''adhān'' (call to prayer) was implemented in Baghdad and a ''khutbah'' (sermon) was delivered in the name of the Fatimid Imam-Caliph. Despite his Shi'i inclinations, Al-Basasiri received support from Sunnis and Shi'is alike, for whom opposition to the Saljuq power was a common factor. On 10 February 1258, Baghdad was captured by the Mongols led by Hulegu, a grandson of Chingiz Khan (Genghis Khan), during the Siege of Baghdad (1258), siege of Baghdad. 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 Levee, dykes forming the city's irrigation system were also destroyed. During this time, in Baghdad, Christians and Shia were tolerated, while Sunnis were treated as enemies. The sack of Baghdad put an end to the Abbasid Caliphate. It has been argued that this marked an end to the Islamic Golden Age and served a blow from which Islamic civilisation never fully recovered. At this point, Baghdad was ruled by the Ilkhanate, a breakaway state of the Mongol Empire, ruling from Iran. In August 1393, Baghdad was occupied by the Central Asian Turkic conqueror Timur ("Tamerlane"), by marching there in only eight days from Shiraz. Sultan Ahmad Jalayir fled to Syria, where the Mamluk Sultan Barquq protected him and killed Timur's envoys. Timur left the Sarbadar prince Khwaja Mas'ud to govern Baghdad, but he was driven out when Ahmad Jalayir returned. In 1401, Baghdad was again sacked, by Timur. When his forces took Baghdad, he spared almost no one, and ordered that each of his soldiers bring back two severed human heads. Baghdad became a provincial capital controlled by the Mongol Jalayirid (1400–1411), Turkic Kara Koyunlu (1411–1469), Turkic White Sheep Turkmen, Ak Koyunlu (1469–1508), and the Iranian Safavid (1508–1534) dynasties.


Ottoman era (16th to 19th centuries)

In 1534, Baghdad was Ottoman–Safavid War (1532–55), captured by the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Turks. Under the Ottoman Empire, Ottomans, Baghdad continued into a period of decline, partially as a result of the enmity between its rulers and Iranian Safavids, which did not accept the Sunni control of the city. Ottoman–Safavid War (1623–1639), Between 1623 and 1638, it returned to Iranian rule before falling back into Ottoman hands. Baghdad has suffered severely from visitations of the plague (disease), plague and cholera, and sometimes two-thirds of its population has been wiped out. 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 dynasty of Iraq, Mamluk government. Direct Ottoman rule was reimposed by Ali Rıza Pasha (governor of Baghdad), Ali Rıza Pasha in 1831. From 1851 to 1852 and from 1861 to 1867, Baghdad was governed, under the Ottoman Empire by Mehmed Namık Pasha. The Nuttall Encyclopedia reports the 1907 population of Baghdad as 185,000. File:Baghdad Eyalet, Ottoman Empire (1609).png, Baghdad Eyalet in 1609 CE. File:Baghdad Vilayet, Ottoman Empire (1900).png, Baghdad Vilayet in 1900 CE. File:Market-Place of Bagdad.jpeg, Souk in Baghdad, 1876 CE.


20th and 21st centuries

Baghdad and southern Iraq remained under Ottoman Empire, Ottoman rule until 1917, when captured by the British during World War I. In 1920, Baghdad became the capital of the
British Mandate of Mesopotamia The Mandate for Mesopotamia ( ar, الانتداب البريطاني على العراق) was a proposed League of Nations mandate to cover Ottoman Iraq (Mesopotamia). It would have been entrusted to the United Kingdom The United Kingdo ...
with several architectural and planning projects commissioned to reinforce this administration. After receiving independence in 1932, the capital of the Kingdom of Iraq. The city's population grew from an estimated 145,000 in 1900 to 580,000 in 1950. During the Mandate, Baghdad's substantial History of the Jews in Iraq, Jewish community comprised a quarter of the city's population. On 1 April 1941, members of the "Golden Square" and Rashid Ali staged 1941 Iraqi coup d'état, a coup in Baghdad. Rashid Ali installed a pro-Nazi Germany, German and pro-Kingdom of Italy, Italian government to replace the pro-British government of Regent 'Abd al-Ilah, 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 Abd al-Karim Qasim, 14 July Revolution, staged a coup to topple the Kingdom of Iraq. King Faisal II, former Prime Minister Nuri as-Said, former Regent Prince 'Abd al-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. The masterplans of the city (1967, 1973) were delivered by the Polish planning office Miastoprojekt-Kraków, mediated by Polservice. However, the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s was a difficult time for the city, as money was diverted by Saddam Hussein to the Iraqi Army, army and thousands of residents were killed. Iran launched a number of missile attacks against Baghdad in retaliation for Saddam Hussein's continuous bombardments of Tehran's residential districts. In 1991 and 2003, the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq caused Damage to Baghdad during the Iraq War, significant damage to Baghdad's transportation, Electricity generation, power, and sanitary infrastructure as the US-led coalition forces launched massive aerial assaults in the city in the two wars. Also in 2003, a minor riot in the city (which took place on 21 July) caused some disturbance in the population. The historic "Assyrian Quarter" of the city, Dora, Baghdad, Dora, which boasted a population of 150,000 Assyrian people, Assyrians in 2003, made up over 3% of the capital's Assyrian population then. The community has been subject to kidnappings, death threats, vandalism, and arson, house burnings by al-Qaeda and other insurgent groups. As of the end of 2014, only 1,500 Assyrians remained in Dora. The
Iraq War The Iraq WarThe conflict is also known as the Second Gulf War or the Third Gulf War by those who consider the Iran–Iraq War the first Gulf War. The war was also called the Second Iraq War referring to the Gulf War as the first Iraq war. The p ...
took place from 2003-2011, but an Islamist
insurgency An insurgency is a violent, armed rebellion Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority In the fields of sociology Sociol ...
lasted until 2013. It was followed by War in Iraq (2013–2017), another war from 2013-2017 and a low-intensity conflict, low-level insurgency from 2017, which included suicide bombings 2018 Baghdad bombings, in January 2018, 2021 Baghdad bombings, and January 2021.


Main sights

Points of interest include the National Museum of Iraq whose collection of artifacts was 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 Iraq National Library and Archive, National Library were destroyed under Saddam's command.


Mutanabbi Street

Mutanabbi Street is located near the old quarter of Baghdad; at Al Rasheed Street. It is the historic center of Baghdadi book-selling, a street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls. It was named after the 10th-century classical Iraqi poet Al-Mutanabbi. This street is well established for bookselling and has often been referred to as the heart and soul of the Baghdad literacy and intellectual community.


Baghdad Zoo

The zoological park used to be the largest in the Middle East. Within eight days following the 2003 invasion, however, only 35 of the 650 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. Conservationist Lawrence Anthony and some of the zoo keepers cared for the animals and fed the carnivores with donkeys they had bought locally. Eventually Paul Bremer, Director of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq after the invasion, ordered protection for the zoo and enlisted U.S. engineers to help reopen the facility.


Grand Festivities Square

Grand Festivities Square is the main square where public celebrations are held and is also the home to three important monuments commemorating Iraqi's fallen soldiers and victories in war; namely Al-Shaheed Monument, the Victory Arch and the The Monument to the Unknown Soldier, Unknown Soldier's Monument.


Al-Shaheed Monument

Al-Shaheed Monument, also known as the Martyr's Memorial, is a monument dedicated to the Iraqi soldiers who died in the Iran–Iraq War. However, now it is generally considered by Iraqis to be for all of the martyrs of Iraq, especially those allied with Iran and Syria fighting ISIS, not just of the Iran–Iraq War. The monument was opened in 1983, and was designed by the Iraqi architect Saman Kamal and the Iraqi sculptor and artist Ismail Fatah Al Turk. During the 1970s and 1980s, Saddam Hussein's government spent a lot of money on new monuments, which included the al-Shaheed Monument. File:Iraq baghdad 04.JPG, ''Al-Shaheed,'' (Martyr's Monument), Zawra Park, Baghdad File:Swords of Qādisīyah (7112414819).jpg, The ''Victory Arch'' (officially known as the ''Swords of Qādisīyah''


Qushla

Qushla or Qishla is a public square and the historical complex located in Al-Rusafa, Iraq, Rusafa neighborhood at the riverbank of
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at ...

Tigris
. Qushla and its surroundings is where the historical features and cultural capitals of Baghdad are concentrated, from the Mutanabbi Street, Abbasid-era palace and bridges, Ottoman-era mosques to the Mustansariyah Madrasa. The square developed during the Ottoman era as a military barracks. Today, it is a place where the citizens of Baghdad find leisure such as reading poetry in gazebos. It is characterized by the iconic clock tower which was donated by George V. The entire area is submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List of World Heritage Sites in Iraq, Tentative list.


Mosques

* Masjid Al-Kadhimain is a shrine that is located in the Kadhimiyyah, Kādhimayn suburb of Baghdad. It contains the tombs of the seventh and ninth Twelver Imamah (Shia doctrine), Shi'ite Imams, Musa al-Kadhim and Muhammad at-Taqi respectively, upon whom the title of ''Kāẓimayn'' ("Two who swallow their anger") was bestowed. Many Shi'ites travel to the mosque from far away places to commemorate. * A'dhamiyyah is a predominantly Sunni area with a Masjid that is associated with the Sunni Imam Abu Hanifah. The name of ''Al-Aʿẓamiyyah'' is derived from Abu Hanifah's title, ''al-Imām al-Aʿẓam'' (the Great Imam). (in Arabic)


Firdos Square

Firdos Square is a public open space in Baghdad and the location of two of the best-known hotels, the Palestine Hotel and the Sheraton Ishtar, which are both also the tallest buildings in Baghdad. The square was the site of the statue of Saddam Hussein that was pulled down by U.S. coalition forces in a widely televised event during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


Administrative divisions

Administratively, Baghdad Governorate is divided into Kaza, districts which are further divided into nahiyah, sub-districts. Municipally, the governorate is divided into 9 municipalities, which have responsibility for local issues. Regional services, however, are coordinated and carried out by a mayor who oversees the municipalities. There is no single city council that singularly governs Baghdad at a municipal level. The governorate council is responsible for the governorate-wide policy. 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. The 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; however, 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: *Adhamiyah *Karkh (Green Zone) *Karrada *Kadhimiya *Mansour district, Mansour *Sadr City (Thawra) *Al Rashid, Baghdad, Al Rashid *Al-Rusafa, Iraq, Rusafa *New Baghdad (Tisaa Nissan) (9 April) 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: *Al-Ghazaliya *Al-A'amiriya *Dora, Baghdad, Dora *Karrada *Al-Jadriya *Al-Hebnaa *Zayouna *Al-Saydiya *Al-Sa'adoon *Al-Shu'ala *Al-Mahmudiyah *Bab Al-Moatham **Baiyaa, Al-Baya' *Al-Za'franiya *Hayy Ur *Sha'ab, Baghdad, Sha'ab *Jamia, Hayy Al-Jami'a *Al-Adel *Al Khadhraa *Hayy Al-Jihad *Hayy Al-A'amel *Hayy Aoor *Al-Hurriya *Hayy Al-Shurtta *Yarmouk, Baghdad, Yarmouk *Jesr Diyala *Abu Disher *Raghiba Khatoun *Arab Jibor *Al-Fathel *Al-Ubedy *Al-Washash *Al-Wazireya


Geography

The city is located on a vast plain bisected by the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at ...

Tigris
river. The Tigris splits Baghdad in half, with the eastern half being called "Al-Rusafa, Iraq, 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 alluvium, alluvial origin due to the periodic large floods which have occurred on the river.


Climate

Baghdad has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification, Köppen ''BWh''), featuring extremely hot, prolonged, dry summers and mild to cool, slightly wet, short winters. In the summer, from June through August, the average maximum temperature is as high as and accompanied by sunshine. Rainfall has been recorded on fewer than half a dozen occasions at this time of year and has never exceeded . Even at night, temperatures in summer are seldom below . Baghdad's record highest temperature of was reached on 28 July 2020. The humidity is typically under 50% in summer due to Baghdad's distance from the marshy southern Iraq and the coasts of Persian Gulf, and dust storms from the deserts to the west are a normal occurrence during the summer. Winter temperatures are typical of hot desert climates. From December through February, Baghdad has maximum temperatures averaging , though highs above are not unheard of. Lows below freezing occur a couple of times per year on average. Annual rainfall, almost entirely confined to the period from November through March, averages approximately , but has been as high as and as low as . On 11 January 2008, light snow fell across Baghdad for the first time in 100 years. Snowfall was again reported on 11 February 2020, with accumulations across the city.


Demographics

Baghdad's population was estimated at 7.22 million in 2015. The city historically had a predominantly Sunni population, but by the early 21st century around 52% of the city's population were Shia Islam in Iraq, Iraqi Shi'ites. At the beginning of the 21st century, some 1.5 million people migrated to Baghdad. Sunni Muslims make up 45% of Iraq's population and they are still a majority in west and north Iraq. As early as 2003, about 20 percent of the population of the city was the result of mixed marriages between Shi'ites and Sunnis. Following the Sectarian violence in Iraq (2006–07), sectarian violence in Iraq between the Sunni and Shia militia groups during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.The Iraqi Civil War (2014–2017), Iraqi Civil War following ISIS' invasion in 2014 caused hundreds of thousands of Iraqi internally displaced people to flee to the city. The city has Shia, Sunni, Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriacs, Armenians and mixed neighborhoods. The city was also home to a large Jewish community and regularly visited by Sikh pilgrims.


Economy

Baghdad accounts for 22.2% of Iraq's population and 40% of the country's gross domestic product (PPP). Iraqi Airways, the national airline of Iraq, has its headquarters on the grounds of Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad.


Reconstruction efforts

Most Reconstruction of Iraq, 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 Reconstruction of Iraq#Proposed Baghdad Renaissance Plan, Baghdad Renaissance Plan and the Sindbad Hotel Complex and Conference Center have also been made. A plan was proposed by a Government agency to rebuild a tourist island in 2008. In late 2009, a construction plan was proposed to rebuild the heart of Baghdad, but the plan was never realized because corruption was involved in it. The Baghdad Eye, a tall Ferris wheel, was proposed for Baghdad in August 2008. At that time, three possible locations had been identified, but no estimates of cost or completion date were given. In October 2008, it was reported that Al-Zawraa Park was expected to be the site, and a wheel was installed there in March 2011. Iraq's Tourism Board is also 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. In October 2008, the Baghdad Metro resumed service. It connects the center to the southern neighborhood of Dora, Baghdad, Dora. In May 2010, a new residential and commercial project nicknamed Baghdad Gate was announced. This project not only addresses the urgent need for new residential units in Baghdad but also acts as a real symbol of progress in the war torn city, as Baghdad has not seen projects of this scale for decades.


Education

The Mustansiriya Madrasah was established in 1227 by the Abbasid Caliph al-Mustansir. The name was changed to Al-Mustansiriya University in 1963. The University of Baghdad is the largest university in Iraq and the second largest in the Arab world. Prior to the Gulf War, multiple international schools operated in Baghdad, including: * École française de Bagdad * Deutsche Schule Bagdad * Baghdad Japanese School (バグダッド日本人学校), a nihonjin gakko


Universities

*University of Baghdad *Al-Mustansiriya University *Iraqi University *Nahrain University *Albayan University *University of Technology, Iraq *University of Mosul


Culture

Baghdad has always played a significant role in the broader Arab culture, Arab cultural sphere, contributing several significant writers, musicians and visual artists. Famous Arab poets and singers such as Nizar Qabbani, Umm Kulthum, Fairuz, Salah Al-Hamdani, Ilham al-Madfai and others have performed for the city. The dialect of Baghdad Arabic, Arabic spoken in Baghdad today differs from that of other large urban centres in Iraq, having features more characteristic of nomadic Arabic dialects (Versteegh, ''The Arabic Language''). It is possible that this was caused by the repopulating of the city with rural residents after the multiple sackings of the late Middle Ages. For poetry written about Baghdad, see Reuven Snir (ed.), ''Baghdad: The City in Verse'' (Harvard, 2013). Baghdad joined the Creative Cities Network, UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a City of Literature in December 2015.


Institutions

Some of the important cultural institutions in the city include the National Theater (Iraq), National Theater, which was looted during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but efforts are underway to restore the theatre. The live theatre scene received a boost during the 1990s, when UN Economic sanctions, 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 Comedy, comedies and dramatic productions. Institutions offering cultural education in Baghdad include The Music and Ballet School of Baghdad and the Institute of Fine Arts Baghdad. The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra is a government funded symphony orchestra in Baghdad. The INSO plays primarily classical European music, as well as original compositions based on Iraqi and Arab instruments and music. Baghdad is also home to a number of museums which housed Artifact (archaeology), artifacts and relics of ancient civilization; many of these were stolen, and the museums looted, during the widespread chaos immediately after United States forces entered the city. During the History of Iraq (2003–11), 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.


Destruction of cultural heritage

Priceless collection of artifacts in the National Museum of Iraq was looted by the Iraqi citizens during the 2003 US-led invasion. Thousands of ancient manuscripts in the Iraq National Library and Archive, National Library were destroyed under Saddam's command and because of neglect by the occupying coalition forces.


Sport

Baghdad is home to some of the most successful Association football, football (soccer) teams in Iraq, the biggest being Al-Shorta SC, Al-Shorta (Police), Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya (Airforce club), Al-Zawra'a SC, Al-Zawra'a, and Talaba SC, Talaba (Students). The largest stadium in Baghdad is Al-Shaab Stadium, which was opened in 1966. The city has also had a strong tradition of horse racing 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.


Major streets

*Haifa Street *Salihiya Residential area – situated off Al Sinak bridge in central Baghdad, surrounded by Al- Mansur Hotel in the north and Al-Rasheed hotel in the south *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, Baghdad, Liberation Square to Masbah *Mohammed Al-Qassim highway near Adhamiyah *Abu Nuwas Street – runs along the Tigris from the Jumhouriya Bridge to 14 July Suspended Bridge *Damascus Street – goes from Damascus Square to the Baghdad Airport Road *Mutanabbi Street – A street with numerous bookshops, 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 Baghdad, north–south *Al Sinaa Street (Industry Street) runs by the University of Technology – centre of the computer trade in Baghdad *Al Nidhal Street *Al Rasheed Street – city centre Baghdad *Al Jamhuriah Street – city centre Baghdad *Falastin Street *Tariq el Muaskar – (Al Rasheed Camp Road) *Akhrot street *Baghdad Airport Road


Twin towns/Sister cities

* Denver Regional Council of Governments, Colorado, United States. * Bogotá, Colombia. * State of Maryland, United States. * Pyongyang, North Korea


See also

*Iraqi art *List of mosques in Baghdad *List of places in Iraq


Notes


References


Further reading


Articles


By Desert Ways to Baghdad
by Louisa Jebb (Mrs. Roland Wilkins), 1908 (1909 ed) (a searchable facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries; DjVu &   format)
A Dweller in Mesopotamia
being the adventures of an official artist in the Garden of Eden, by Donald Maxwell, 1921 (a searchable facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries; DjVu &   format)
Miastoprojekt goes abroad: the transfer of architectural labour from socialist Poland to Iraq (1958–1989)
by Lukasz Stanek, ''The Journal of Architecture'', Volume 17, Issue 3, 2012


Books

* *"Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-135" by Ibn Battuta. *"Gertrude Bell: the Arabian diaries,1913–1914." by Bell Gertrude Lowthian, and O'Brien, Rosemary. *"Historic cities of the Islamic world". by Bosworth, Clifford Edmund. *"Ottoman administration of Iraq, 1890–1908." by Cetinsaya, Gokhan. *"Naked in Baghdad." by Garrels, Anne, and Lawrence, Vint. *"A memoir of Major-General Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson." by Rawlinson, George.


External links


Amanat/Mayoralty of BaghdadMap of BaghdadNational Commission for Investment in IraqInteractive map– Baghdad government websitesDescription of the original layout of BaghdadEthnic and sectarian map of Baghdad – HealingiraqUAE Investors Keen On Taking Part In Baghdad Renaissance ProjectMan With A Plan: Hisham AshkouriBehind Baghdad's 9/11Iraq Inter-Agency Information & Analysis Unit
Reports, maps and assessments of Iraq from the UN Inter-Agency Information & Analysis Unit * {{Authority control Baghdad, 762 establishments Capitals in Asia Capitals of caliphates Cities in Iraq Assyrian communities in Iraq Turkmen communities in Iraq Historic Jewish communities Iraqi culture Populated places along the Silk Road Populated places established in the 8th century Populated places on the Tigris River 8th-century establishments in Asia Planned cities