One of the largest cities in the Middle East on the Tigris River.
In 1920 Baghdad became the capital of the newly created state of Iraq.
Baghdad is the leading manufacturing city of the country, with oil refineries, food-processing plants, tanneries, and textile mills. Among the handcrafted wares produced in Baghdad are cloth, household utensils, jewelry, leather goods, felt, and rugs, which may be purchased in the bazaars. Consisting of rows of small shops or stalls, these bazaars have long been a feature of the city.
Recognizing British conquest of the state in World War I, the League of Nations granted Great Britain in 1920 a mandate to govern Iraq, and it did so until 1932. British influence remained dominant until 1958, when the Hashemite monarchy that Britain had helped to establish was overthrown in a military coup d'état.
Population (1987) 3,844,608.
The city suffered damage from Allied bombing during the Persian Gulf War.
Saddam Hussein ruled in Baghdad till spring 2003
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Educational institutions in the city include the University of Baghdad (1957), al-Mustansiriyah University (1963), and the University of Technology (1974).
Among the noteworthy historical structures of Baghdad is the ruins of Bab al-Wastani, the last remaining of the famous gates of Baghdad, which has been converted into an arms museum. Other notable buildings are the Abbasid Palace, which probably dates from 1179, the al-Mustansiriyah, a college founded in 1232 (both restored as museums), and the Mirjan Mosque, completed in 1358. A few miles north of Baghdad is Kazimayn, notable for its magnificent gold-domed mosque (completed in the 19th century) and the tombs of religious leaders venerated by the Shiite Muslims.
Baghdad was built by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur in 762 on the western bank of the Tigris River, opposite an old Iranian village also named Baghdad. The original city was round, with three concentric walls. The innermost wall enclosed the palace of the caliph, the second wall defined the army quarters, and the homes of the people occupied the outermost enclosure. The merchants' quarters, or bazaars, were located outside the city walls. Within the next half century the city reached a peak of prosperity and influence under the caliph Harun ar-Rashid, whose reign is celebrated in the famous tales of the Arabian Nights. During this period the city expanded to the eastern bank of the Tigris, which later became the heart of Baghdad. Although past its zenith after Harun's time, Baghdad remained an important center of trade and culture for more than four centuries. The decline of Baghdad began when Hulagu, the grandson of the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan, sacked the city in 1258, putting an end to the Abbasid caliphate.
Baghdad is the center of air, road, and railroad transportation in Iraq.
Major cities near Baghdad:
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