Baghdad (/ˈbæɡdæd, bəɡˈdæd/; Arabic: بغداد
[baɣˈdaːd] ( listen)) is the capital of Iraq. The
population of Baghdad, as of 2016[update], is approximately
8,765,000,[note 1] making it the largest city in
Iraq, the second largest city in the
Arab world (after Cairo, Egypt),
and the second largest city in
Western Asia (after Tehran, Iran).
Located along the
Tigris River, the city was founded in the 8th
century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Within a
short time of its inception,
Baghdad evolved into a significant
cultural, commercial, and intellectual center for the Islamic world.
This, in addition to housing several key academic institutions (e.g.,
House of Wisdom), garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the
"Centre of Learning".
Baghdad was the largest city of the
Middle Ages for much of the
Abbasid era, peaking at a population of more than a million. The
city was largely destroyed at the hands of the
Mongol Empire in 1258,
resulting in a decline that would linger through many centuries due to
frequent plagues and multiple successive empires. With the recognition
Iraq as an independent state (formerly the British Mandate of
Mesopotamia) in 1938,
Baghdad gradually regained some of its former
prominence as a significant center of
In contemporary times, the city has often faced severe infrastructural
damage, most recently due to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the
Iraq War that lasted until December 2011. In recent years,
the city has been frequently subjected to insurgency attacks. The war
had resulted in a substantial loss of cultural heritage and historical
artifacts as well. As of 2012[update],
Baghdad was listed as one of
the least hospitable places in the world to live, and was ranked by
Mercer as the worst of 221 major cities as measured by
2.2 Surrounding walls
2.2.1 Golden Gate Palace
2.2.2 Abbasids and the round city
2.3 Center of learning (8th to 13th centuries)
2.3.1 End of the Abbasids in Baghdad
2.4 Ottoman era (16th to 19th centuries)
2.5 20th and 21st centuries
3 Main sights
3.1 Mutanabbi Street
3.3 Al-Shaheed Monument
Mosque of the Kadhimain
Mosque of Abu Hanifah
3.7 Firdos Square
4 Administrative divisions
7.1 Reconstruction efforts
8.2 Destruction of cultural heritage
10 Major streets
11 Twin towns/Sister cities
12 See also
15 Further reading
16 External links
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 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 Persian. 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 the first element can be traced to boghu and is related to
Slavic bog "god", while the second can be traced to dadāti. A
similar term in Middle Persian is the name Mithradāt (Mihrdād in New
Persian), known in English by its Hellenistic form Mithridates,
meaning "gift of 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
Afghanistan or a village
called Bagh-šan in Iran. The name of the town
Baghdati in Georgia
shares 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 (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, 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.[unreliable source?] By the 11th century, "Baghdad"
became almost the exclusive name for the world-renowned metropolis.
History of Baghdad
History of Baghdad and Timeline of Baghdad
A view of
Baghdad from the print collection in Travels in Asia and
Africa, etc. (ed. J. P. Berjew, British Library)
After the fall of the Umayyads, the first Muslim dynasty, the
victorious Abbasid rulers wanted their own capital from which they
could rule. They chose a site north of the
Sassanid capital of
Ctesiphon (and also just north of where ancient
Babylon had once
stood), and on 30 July 762 the caliph
Al-Mansur commissioned the
construction of the city. It was built under the supervision of the
Barmakids. Mansur believed that
Baghdad was the perfect city to be
the capital of the Islamic empire under the Abbasids. 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
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, 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.
Baghdad eclipsed Ctesiphon, the capital of the Sassanians, which was
located some 30 km (19 mi) to the southeast. Today, all that
Ctesiphon is the shrine town of Salman Pak, just to the
south of Greater Baghdad.
Ctesiphon itself had replaced and absorbed
Seleucia, the first capital of the Seleucid Empire, which had earlier
replaced the city of Babylon.
In its early years, the city was known as a deliberate reminder of an
expression in the Qur'an, when it refers to 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
Naubakht Ahvazi and Mashallah, believed that the city
should be built under the sign of the lion, Leo. Leo is associated
with fire and symbolises productivity, pride, and expansion.
The bricks used to make the city were 18 inches (460 mm) on all
four sides. Abu Hanifah 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
The basic framework of the city consists of two large semicircles
about 19 km (12 mi) in diameter. The city was designed as a
circle about 2 km (1.2 mi) 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. In the center of the city lay the 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. 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 and Roman
urban planning, in which cities are designed as squares or rectangles
with streets intersecting each other at right angles.
Panoramic view over the ancient city of Babylon, located 85 km
(53 mi) south of Baghdad.
See also: Gates of Baghdad
The four surrounding walls of
Baghdad were named Kufa, Basra,
Khurasan, and Syria; named because their gates pointed in the
directions of these destinations. The distance between these gates was
a little less than 2.4 km (1.5 mi). 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 merlons, a solid part of an embattled
parapet usually pierced by embrasures. 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, which is made out of bricks and
quicklime. 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, 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, 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
Arabic script. The two designers who were
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, a Jew from
Abbasids and the round city
Round city of Baghdad
Round city of Baghdad between 767 and 912 AD
The justification for the
Abbasid Caliphate was based on the Abbasids
being the descendants of the uncle of
Muhammad and being part of the
Quraysh tribe. They used
Shi'a resentment, Khorasanian movement, and
appeals to the ambitions and traditions of the newly conquered Persian
aristocracy to overthrow the Umayyads. The Abbasids sought to
combine the hegemony of the
Arab tribes with the imperial, court,
ceremonial, and administrative structures of the Persians. The
Abbasids considered themselves the inheriters of Arab-Islamic culture.
Harun al-Rashid needed to place the capital in a place that was
representative of Arab-Islamic identity and built the House of Wisdom,
where ancient texts were translated from their original language, such
as Greek, to Arabic. Al-Ma'mun is credited with the "Translation
Movement" for this.
Center of learning (8th to 13th centuries)
Further information: Islamic Golden Age
Courtyard of Mustansiriya madrasa, established by Al-Mustansir in 1227
Within a generation of its founding,
Baghdad became a hub of learning
and commerce. Baytul-Hikmah or the "House of Wisdom", initially
founded as a library for private use by Harun al-Rashid, flourished
into an unrivaled intellectual center of science, medicine,
philosophy, and education and had the largest selection of books in
the world by the middle of the 9th century.
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
One Thousand and One Nights
One Thousand and One Nights tales, widely known as the Arabian
Nights, are set in
Baghdad during this period.
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. Four great libraries were established in
this period. The earliest was that of the famous Al Mamun, who was
caliph from 813 to 833. Another was established by Sabur Ibn Ardashir
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 Nizamiyah
was founded by the Persian Nizam al Mulk, who was vizier of two early
Seljuk sultans. It continued to operate even after the coming of
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.
End of the Abbasids in Baghdad
Al Khulafa mosque retains an Abbasid-era minaret
Zumurrud Khaton Tomb in
Baghdad (built in 1202 AD), photo of 1932
By the 10th century, the city's population was between
1.2 million and 2 million. Baghdad's early meteoric
growth eventually slowed due to troubles within the Caliphate,
including relocations of the capital to
Samarra (during 808–819 and
836–892), the loss of the western and easternmost provinces, and
periods of political domination by the Iranian Buwayhids (945–1055)
Seljuk Turks (1055–1135).
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
Tughril Beg saw himself as the protector of the Abbasid
Sieges and wars in which
Baghdad was involved are listed below:
Baghdad (812–813), Fourth Fitna (Caliphal Civil War)
Baghdad (865), Abbasid Civil War (865–866)
Baghdad (946), Buyid–Hamdanid War
Baghdad (1157), Abbasid–Seljuq Wars
Baghdad (1258), Mongol conquest of Baghdad
Baghdad (1401), by Tamerlane
Baghdad (1534), Ottoman–
Baghdad (1623), Ottoman–
Baghdad (1625), Ottoman–
Baghdad (1638), Ottoman–
Baghdad (1917), World War I
1941 Iraqi coup d'état, World War II
United States invasion of Iraq
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
Caliph 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
Mawṣil, Wāsit and Kufa. Soon after, 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
Baghdad by the
Mongols in 1258
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. 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
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, a blow from which the Islamic civilization
never fully recovered.
At this point,
Baghdad was ruled by the Ilkhanate, a breakaway state
of the Mongol Empire, ruling from Iran. In 1401,
Baghdad was again
sacked, by the Central Asian Turkic conqueror
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
Kara Koyunlu (1411–1469), Turkic Ak Koyunlu
(1469–1508), and the Iranian
Safavid (1508–1534) dynasties.
Ottoman era (16th to 19th centuries)
Baghdad Eyalet and
Souk in Baghdad, 1876
Baghdad was captured by the Ottoman Turks. Under the
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. Between 1623 and 1638,
it returned to Iranian rule before falling back into Ottoman hands.
Baghdad has suffered severely from visitations of the plague and
cholera, and sometimes two-thirds of its population has been wiped
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 government. Direct Ottoman rule was reimposed by Ali Rıza
Pasha in 1831. From 1851 to 1852 and from 1861 to 1867,
governed, under the
Ottoman Empire by Mehmed Namık Pasha. The
Nuttall Encyclopedia reports the 1907 population of
20th and 21st centuries
See also: Mandatory
Iraq and Kingdom of Iraq
The Shabandar Café in Baghdad, 1923
Baghdad and southern
Iraq remained under Ottoman rule until 1917, when
captured by the British during World War I. In 1920,
the capital of the
British Mandate of Mesopotamia
British Mandate of Mesopotamia and 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 Jewish community comprised a
quarter of the city's population.
On 1 April 1941, members of the "Golden Square" and
Rashid Ali staged
a coup in Baghdad.
Rashid Ali installed a pro-German and pro-Italian
government to replace the pro-British government of
Regent 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,
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.
Tahrir square in Downtown 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
Iraq War of the 1980s was a difficult time for the city, as
money was diverted by
Saddam Hussein to the army and thousands of
residents were killed.
Iran launched a number of missile attacks
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
significant damage to Baghdad's transportation, power, and sanitary
infrastructure as the US-led coalition forces launched massive aerial
assaults in the city in the two wars. Also in 2003, the minor riot in
the city (which took place on 21 July) caused some disturbance in the
The historic "Assyrian Quarter" of the city, Dora, which boasted a
population of 150,000 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 house burnings by Alqaida
and other insurgent groups. As of the end of 2014, only 1,500
Assyrians remained in Dora. in the early 1800's the city had..........
Al-Mutanabbi Statue at the end of
Mutanabbi Street beside the Tigris.
Points of interest include the
National Museum of Iraq
National Museum of Iraq whose priceless
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
National Library were destroyed under Saddam's command.
Main article: Mutanabbi Street
Mutanabbi Street (Arabic: شارع المتنبي) 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
Baghdad literacy and intellectual community.
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. South African
Lawrence Anthony and some of the zoo keepers cared
for the animals and fed the carnivores with donkeys they had bought
locally. Eventually, L. Paul Bremer, Director of the Coalition
Provisional Authority in
Iraq from 11 May 2003 to 28 June 2004 ordered
protection of the zoo and U.S. engineers helped to reopen the
Al-Shaheed Monument (Arabic: نصب الشهيد), 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
Syria currently fighting ISIS, not just of
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,
government spent a lot of money on new monuments, which included the
Qushla clock tower
Qushla (or Qishla, Arabic: قشلة) is a public square and the
historical complex located in Rusafa neighborhood at the riverbank of
Qushla and it’s surrounding 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 currently submitted to the
UNESCO World Heritage
Site Tentative list.
Mosque of the Kadhimain
Main article: Al-
Mosque is a shrine that is located in the Kādhimayn
suburb of Baghdad. It contains the tombs of the seventh and ninth
Twelver Shi'ite Imams,
Musa al-Kadhim and
respectively, upon whom the title of Kāẓimayn (Arabic:
كَـاظِـمَـيـن, "Two who swallow their anger") was
bestowed. Many Shi'ites travel to the mosque from far away
places to commemorate.
Mosque of Abu Hanifah
Abu Hanifa Mosque
A'dhamiyyah is a predominantly
Sunni area with a
Mosque that is
associated with the
Sunni Imam Abu Hanifah. The name of
Al-A‘ẓamiyyah (Arabic: الأَعـظَـمِـيَّـة) is
derived from Abu Hanifah's title, al-Imām al-A‘ẓam (Arabic:
الإِمَـام الأَعـظَـم, the Great Imam).
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.
See also: List of neighborhoods and districts in Baghdad
Baghdad as seen from the International Space Station
Baghdad Governorate is divided into districts which
are further divided into 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
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
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
Baghdad Province was the election of the
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
This system of 127 separate councils may seem overly cumbersome;
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:
Sadr City (Thawra)
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:
The city is located on a vast plain bisected by the
Tigris river. The
Baghdad in half, with the eastern half being called
"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 alluvial
origin due to the periodic large floods which have occurred on the
Panoramic view of the
Tigris as it flows through Baghdad
Baghdad has a subtropical desert climate (Köppen climate
classification BWh). In the summer from June to August, the average
maximum temperature is as high as 44 °C (111 °F)
accompanied by blazing sunshine: rainfall has in fact been recorded on
fewer than half a dozen occasions at this time of year and has never
exceeded 1 millimetre (0.04 in). Even at night temperatures
in summer are seldom below 24 °C (75 °F). Baghdad's record
highest temperature of 124 degrees Fahrenheit (51 degrees Celsius) was
reached in July 2015. 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.
Winters boast temperatures typical of subtropical climates. From
December to February,
Baghdad has maximum temperatures averaging 15.5
to 18.5 °C (59.9 to 65.3 °F), though highs above
21 °C (70 °F) are not unheard of. The average January low
is 3.8 °C (38.8 °F) but lows below freezing occur a couple
of times per year on average.
Annual rainfall, almost entirely confined to the period from November
to March, averages around 150 mm (5.91 in), but has been as
high as 338 mm (13.31 in) and as low as 37 mm
(1.46 in). On 11 January 2008, light snow fell across Baghdad
for the first time in memory.
Climate data for Baghdad
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average rainfall mm (inches)
Average rainy days (≥ 0.001 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
World Meteorological Organization
World Meteorological Organization (UN)
Source #2: Climate & Temperature
Baghdad's population was estimated at 7.22 million in 2015. The city
historically had a predominantly
Sunni population, by the early 21st
century around 82% of the city's population were Iraqi Shia.[citation
needed] At the beginning of the 21st century, some 1.5 million people
migrated to Baghdad, most of them Shiites and a few Sunnis.
As early as 2003, about 20 percent of the population of the city was
the result of mixed marriages between Shi'ites and Sunnis: they are
often referred to as "Sushis". Following the sectarian violence in
Iraq between the
Sunni and Shia militia groups during the U.S.
occupation of Iraq, the city's population became overwhelmingly Shia.
Despite the government's promise to resettle Sunnis displaced by the
violence, little has been done to bring this about. The Iraqi Civil
War following ISIS' invasion in 2014 caused hundreds of thousands of
Iraqi internally displaced people to flee to the city. The city
currently has Sunni, Shia, Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriacs, Armenians and
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December
View of downtown Baghdad, March 2017
Al-Ma'mun's Telecommunication Center in downtown Baghdad
Baghdad accounts for 22.2 per cent of Iraq's population and 40 per
cent 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
Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad.
Al-Naser Airlines has
its head office in Karrada, Baghdad.
Further information: Investment in post-invasion Iraq
Most 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
Baghdad Renaissance Plan and the
Sindbad Hotel Complex and Conference Center
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.
Baghdad Eye, a 198 m (650 ft) tall Ferris wheel, was
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 55 m
(180 ft) wheel was installed there in March 2011.
Iraq's Tourism Board is also seeking investors to develop a "romantic"
island on the River
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. 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.
Baghdad Mall (4 floors) +
Baghdad Rayhan Hotel by Rotana +
offices (30 floors) (105 metres) + offices (7 floors)
Baghdad Taji 60,000 seats Stadium.
Baghdad Bismayah New City 100,000 housing units.
Baghdad Zuhour 5400 units (100 apartments)
Baghdad Ibn Firnas Residential Project 2016 housing Units
Baghdad Al Ayadi Residential Project 1335 housing Units
Riyadh Apartments 8 floors
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March
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
University of Baghdad is the largest
Iraq and the second largest in the
Prior to the
Gulf War multiple international schools operated in
École française de Bagdad
Deutsche Schule Bagdad
Baghdad Japanese School (バグダッド日本人学校), a nihonjin
University of Baghdad
University of Technology, Iraq
Baghdad Arabic and Culture of Iraq
The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, officially founded in 1959,
performing a concert in
Iraq in July 2007.
Baghdad has always played a significant role in the broader 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
Arabic spoken in
Baghdad today differs from that of
other large urban centres in Iraq, having features more characteristic
Arabic dialects (Verseegh, 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)
Two ballet dancers of the Iraqi National
Ballet (which is based in
Baghdad) performing a ballet show in
Iraq in 2007.
Many events are hosted at the
Baghdad Convention Center
Some of the important cultural institutions in the city include the
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 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 comedies
and dramatic productions.
Institutions offering cultural education in
Baghdad include The Music
Ballet School of
Baghdad and the Institute of Fine Arts Baghdad.
Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra
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 artifacts and relics of ancient civilization; many of
these were stolen, and the museums looted, during the widespread chaos
United States forces entered the city.
During the 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
Destruction of cultural heritage
Priceless collection of artifacts in the
National Museum of Iraq
National Museum of Iraq was
looted during the 2003 US-led invasion. Thousands of ancient
manuscripts in the National Library were destroyed under Saddam's
command and the neglection of the occupying coalition forces.
Baghdad is home to some of the most successful football (soccer) teams
in Iraq, the biggest being Al-Shorta (Police), Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
(Airforce club), Al-Zawra'a, and Talaba (Students). The largest
Baghdad is Al-Shaab Stadium, which was opened in 1966.
Another, but much larger stadium, is still in the opening stages of
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
Haifa Street, as seen from the Medical City Hospital across the Tigris
Palestine Meridian hotel and Ishtar Sheraton hotel
A street in Baghdad, 2015
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 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
Mutanabbi Street – A street with numerous bookshops, named after the
10th century Iraqi poet Al-Mutanabbi
Arbataash Tamuz (14th July) Street (
Muthana al-Shaibani Street
Bor Saeed (Port Said) Street
Al Qanat Street – runs through
Al Khat al Sare'a – Mohammed al Qasim (high speed lane) – runs
through Bagdhad, 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
Al Rasheed Street – city centre Baghdad
Al Jamhuriah Street – city centre Baghdad
Tariq el Muaskar – (Al Rasheed Camp Road)
Baghdad Airport Road
Baghdad Airport Road 
Twin towns/Sister cities
Arab world portal
List of places in Iraq
List of mosques in Baghdad
^ a b Estimates of total population differ substantially. The
Encyclopedia Britannica gives the city 2001-2006 population of
4,950,000;[not in citation given] the 2006 Lancet Report states a
population of 7,216,050; Mongabay gives a figure of 6,492,200 as of
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Baghdad.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Baghdad.
Baghdad in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
Amanat/Mayoralty of Baghdad
Map of Baghdad
Iraq Image -
Baghdad Satellite Observation
National Commission for Investment in Iraq
Iraq - Urban Society
Baghdad government websites
Envisioning Reconstruction In Iraq
Description of the original layout of Baghdad
Ethnic and sectarian map of
Baghdad - Healingiraq
UAE Investors Keen On Taking Part In
Project[permanent dead link]
Man With A Plan: Hisham Ashkouri
Behind Baghdad's 9/11
Iraq Inter-Agency Information & Analysis Unit Reports, maps and
Iraq from the UN Inter-Agency Information &
Geographic data related to
Baghdad at OpenStreetMap
Links to related articles
Districts and neighborhoods of Baghdad
Governorates of Iraq
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Syria (40 km)
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