Cheap Flights to Basrah
Iraq's second-biggest and arguably more refined city Basrah enjoys a southerly geographical position close to the Kuwait border. The economy of this port city depends on the oil industry but the city has also long been a strategic military base. Established in the 7th century, the city is hugely significant historically. It is home to the first ever mosque to be built outside of the main Arabian Peninsula: the Imam Ali ibn Talib Mosque. In later times it was the home of the famous Iraqi poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab and also one of Saddam's famous palaces. Today the palace has been restored and is a city museum having been symbolically "given back to the people" after the fall of Hussein. Those who enjoy shopping should visit the two main bazaars, whilst others might want to head to the more modern mall at Times Square. Basra is one of the hottest cities on Earth with very dry hot weather in summer -- visitors would be wise to visit during the cooler months of winter.
Things to do
There are a number of things to do in Basrah including a municipal museum, adventure play land and good shopping opportunities.
Formerly one of Saddam Hussein's Palaces, this once-splendid building has been renovated and given back to the people by becoming the city museum. As one of the country's earliest Islamic settlements, the museum is home to a huge number of historical artefacts, dating from the earliest days of Isalm to the Ottoman Empire. Unlike the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad, this museums is dedicated to local and regional history. Older artefacts from Assyrian, Sumerian and Babylonian times will also be displayed, showcasing the region's history which goes back some 4,000 years.
Home of Badr Shakir al-Sayyab
The 20th century poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab is one of the most well-known and influential poets from the Arab world. His former home in the city has become a museum chronicling his life and work. After a trip to the home it's worth heading to one of the city's most famous streets, Corniche, to see his statue.
Leisure in Basrah
The city is home to the Family Park which includes a green outdoor space, games, rides, shops and restaurants, all with a family-friendly vibe. Further leisure time can be spent at Sports City, a major sorting complex with plenty of excellent facilities. During the day, other visitors will prefer to go shopping in the upmarket mall on Times Square, home to a number of restaurants and well-known brands. Others will prefer the hustle and bustle of either the Indian Market or the Hanna-Sheikh Bazaar, the oldest souk in the city.
Calendar of Events
There are a few cultural events in Basrah, as well as number of commercial shows and religious festivities.
Eid al-Fitr, last day of the month of Ramadam. This changing-date event is celebrated every year at the end of the fasting period of Ramadam. During Eid, Muslims in the city celebrate by enjoying a feast that breaks the fast, or "sawm".
Qumara International Film Festival. This new cultural festival in mid-June showcases short films by amateur filmmakers in Iraq.
International Oil and Gas Show. In early December, the city plays host to the country's biggest international gas and oil show every year at the city's International Fair Ground.