About city :
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq. The city is a famous center of religion, education, learning and culture in the Islamic world, though today, it has become a dangerous place to visit because of prolonged political disturbance. The city covers an area of 204.2 sq km and has an approximate population of 7.2 million.
Baghdad was founded in the 8th century when it became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. The word Baghdad is thought to come from ancient Persian, meaning the gift of God. It gained worldwide recognition as a center of learning, but it was devastated by the Mongol empire in 1258. The city never managed to recover its former glory and in 1938 it became the capital of independent Iraq. Though there were some attempts to build up the civic infrastructure, the city was severely damaged by the invasion of Iraq and continues to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world today.
The city of Baghdad lies on a vast alluvial plain build up by periodic floods on the banks of the Tigris River. In fact, the River Tigris bisects the city of Baghdad. The eastern side is known as Rusafa while the western side is known as Karkh.
The city has a hot arid climate and is in fact one of the hottest cities of the world. The summer lasts from June to August and is blazing hot. There is almost no rain during this time. Instead, sandstorms are common in summer. The winter lasts from December to February and the nights can be very cold. The city receives little rainfall, mostly concentrated between the months of November to March.
How to reach (transport) :
The city is served by the Baghdad International airport. There are flights to destinations of Europe and Asia like Munich, Istanbul, Vienna and various cities of the Middle East. The city is also connected by rail to Basra. Though road connections exist with all the neighboring countries, travel by road is strongly discouraged due to unstable political situation.
When to visit :
The best time to visit Baghdad is during the months of April and May, October and November and January and February. During these times, the weather of the city is pleasant and you will be able to explore most of the sights with comfort.
Culture (fairs and festivals) and traditions :
Baghdad has always been a center of Arabic culture. Famous poets and singers have dedicated their works to the city. Today, the normal civilian life is largely hampered by insurgency, but still, several festivals are celebrated in the city. Some of them are as follows:
- The Iraq Short Film Festival was started in 2005 and has become quite popular. Between 1st August and 30th September, a series of short films in Arabic and Kurdish languages made by Iraqis are screened throughout Baghdad.
- The Baghdad Liberation Day is celebrated on 9th April. In addition, the Iraq Independence Day is celebrated on 3rd October and the Republic Day is celebrated on 14th July.
- The Assyrian New Year is celebrated on 1st April. Long parades in ancient costumes take place on the streets and the parties last for hours.
Points of interest (places to visit) :
Being a city with a long and illustrious history, Baghdad is rich in cultural sites. Some of the most important places to visit in Baghdad are as follows :
- The Al Shaheed monument is one of the most significant landmarks, located on the eastern half of the city. Dedicated to the Iraqi soldiers who died in the Iraq Iran war, the monument rises from a circular platform with a diameter of 190 meters from an artificial lake.
- The Baghdad zoo houses a good collection of animals, though it was badly affected in the 2003 war.
- The National Museum of Iraq was established by a British traveler and writer Gertrude Bell in 1926 and contains priceless relics from the Mesopotamian civilization.
- The Monument to the Unknown Soldier is another monument inspired by the Iraq Iran war. It portrays a traditional shield dropped from the hands of an Iraqi warrior.
- There are several religious sites spread across the city of Baghdad. These include the Arahman Mosque, the Al-Kadhimain shrine, the Umm Al-Qura mosque, the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Latin Church and many more.
When its vacation time, nothing can compensate a good stay. No matter where you travel, choosing the right accommodation is of utmost importance. Fortunately, Baghdad has some of the great stay options to ensure tourists with a comfy stay. The Coral Boutique hotel is a favorite of the tourists and has been described as the best hotel in the city. Apart from this, there are Cristal Grand Ishtar, Al Rasheed, Rimal, Palestine International, Al Mansour etc.