Cheap Flights to Bagdad
The capital of Iraq has a long and fascinating story. In its 1,300 year history, Bagdad has been a city of significant cultural and commercial growth. In pre-Islamic times, the ancient Mesopotamian city of Babylon was located close to the modern day capital of Iraq. In the 8th century however, the city was built to be a capital for the first Muslim Dynasty. The city's location on the River Tigris means that it had a plentiful supply of water for a city with such dry climate and was also able to develop excellent trading routes; these factors meant it grew hugely. By the late middle Ages, it was the biggest city in the world and was also a global centre for learning.
After a period of instability following the Coalition War in 2003, the city is slowly re-emerging and some of its landmarks and attractions are beginning to re-open to the public. Peace-time highlights of the city include shopping in the wonderful souks and bazaars as well as visiting the fairground in Zawraa Park. Anyone with an interest in the ancient history of the region should also visit the National Museum of Iraq. Most visitors should remain in the Green Zone, an international safe zone in the centre of the city that's home to national monuments, bars and restaurants.
If your holiday dates match, try and catch the Babylon International Festival of culture or the country's annual film festival while in Bagdad.
Things to do
As a world capital, there are many things to do in Bagdad including visiting national museums and bazaar shopping. For now foreign visitors are advised to remain in the Green Zone, where the Monument to the Unknown Soldier and the Parade Ground are found. Other attractions include:
- Historic Souks and Bazaars
One thing this city is famous for is its historic souks and bazaars. The oldest of which is Souk al-Shorja, which is over 1,250 years old. Other highlights include the book market on Muntanabi Street and Coppersmith Souk, where buyers can shop for copper beaten in the traditional way. Those who prefer a more modern shopping experience should head to the Al Mansur Mall or MaxiMall.
This museum is home to rare artefacts from Mesopotamia from up to 5,000 years ago as well as Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian and medieval Islamic artefacts. The museum is starting to open up for visitors and requested VIP tours. Visitors should check the museum website before arriving.
Zawraa Park is the biggest public green space in the city and features all kinds of entertainment and games for families as well as meticulously well-landscaped gardens. It is also home to the City Zoo and hosts the Annual Flower fair.
Calendar of Events
There are still some cultural festivals taking place in Bagdad as well as the marking of traditional and religious occasions.
Assyrian New Year. Also known as Kha b' Nisan, the Assyrian New Year is celebrated across Iraq by Assyrians on the 1st April and may take the form of street parades, feasts and dancing.
Iraq Short Film Festival. This festival has occurred annually since 2005 and goes on for two months from the beginning of August. It involves the screening of Kurdish and Arabic Short films at a number of venues.
Babylon International Festival. This month-long festival from September to October celebrates traditional and ancient culture though a variety of mediums and performances.