With the Tigris River flowing through its heart, Baghdad serves as the capital of Iraq and is one of the largest cities in the Arab world. It was established near the ancient Akkadian city of Babylon and has a long and tumultuous history as an intellectual, educational and cultural centre.
Things to do in Baghdad
History buffs shouldn’t miss a visit to the Iraq Museum, which houses an outstanding collection of artefacts from the Mesopotamian, Babylonian and Persian civilisations. Admire the pre-Islamic artwork on display and get up close to gold jewellery and figurines from the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, as well as Sumerian sculptures from Uruk.
To learn about life in Baghdad throughout the centuries, visit Baghdadi Museum, which is renowned for its wax statues depicting local scenes. See traditional folk crafts being manufactured and watch residents going above their everyday professions, then marvel at the wax creations of modern-day Iraqi movie stars. The Baghdadi Museum is a short stroll from the Abbasid Palace and the Qishla Building, an Ottoman-built landmark overlooking the Tigris River.
One of Baghdad’s most stunning mosques is Al-Kadhimiya, which contains the tombs of Musa al-Kazim and Muhammad al-Jawad. Also worth visiting is the Zubaida Tomb, a 13th-century mosque and mausoleum built by Zumurrud Khatun that features the oldest surviving minaret in Baghdad. Considered one of the finest Ottoman mosques in the city is the Haydar-Khana Mosque, which is home to a notable Islamic library.
Getting around Baghdad
Baghdad International Airport is a 30-minute drive from the city centre and trains connect to destinations across Iraq from the Global railway station. Buses are the main means of getting around Baghdad and taxis are readily available.