35 Baghdad Facts: Explore This City Which Is The Capital Of Iraq

Joan Agie
Oct 12, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Mar 15, 2022
Baghdad facts which should be known by everyone.

Baghdad is geographically located near the ruins of the legendary city of Babylon, it is about 25 mi (40.23 km) from the Tigris River.

The round city was once a part of the great Ottoman Empire which lasted till 1917. But it did not reach great heights in the Islamic world and rather went into degradation.

When in 1920 Baghdad was captured by the British it became the capital of the British Mandate of Mesopotamia and later after receiving independence in 1932, it became the capital of Iraq.

The Shrine town in the Abbasid era was protected by the city walls from foreign invaders and the walls were named Kufa, Basra, Khurasan, and Syria.

Climate Of Baghdad

The climate of Baghdad is a desert type of climate, with its typical and extended summer and short winters.

With an average maximum temperature of 111 F (44 C) in summer, the highest temperature was 125.2 F (51.8 C) recorded on July 28, 2020. Though the temperature at night in summer can reach low temperatures of 75 F (24 C).

With 61-66 F (16- 19 C), the winter sometimes can also have temperatures below the freezing point. On January 11 2008 and February 11 2020, snowfall occurred in different parts of the city.

The average annual rainfall is 5.91 in (150 mm) and the humidity is quite low. The factor that is solely responsible is its distance from southern Iraq and the coasts of the Persian Gulf.

Desert Storms are also common during the summer season.

Tourist Attractions In Baghdad

Once this ancient city was filled with wonders in the field of tourism, but with several wars, most of the attractions have degraded. Here are some of the most remarkable among them:

With artifacts from the Mesopotamian, Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations the National Museum of Iraq was regarded as one of the most important museums in the world. But with the rampant Gulf War, many artifacts were destroyed. Even it is believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for destroying several manuscripts in the National Library.

Mutanabbi Street, named after the classical Iraqi poet of the 10th century Al-Mutanabbi, is at Al Rasheed Street which is the intellectual hub of modern Baghdad and is known for its book stores and outdoor bookstalls. But on March 5, 2007, a car bomb exploded and destroyed this beautiful area killing and injuring several people.

On December 18, 2008, this street was reorganized and reopened by the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Baghdad Zoo was regarded as one of the biggest in the Middle East with a 200 ac (80.94 ha) area and was built in 1971. It had 650 animals and was closed in 2002 by Saddam Hussein's Government for redecorations.

But with the 2003 invasions, the whole zoo was almost destroyed and only 35 animals survived. Later it was rebuilt and according to the 2009 reports, it houses 1,070 animals.

The monument of Al-Shaheed was a memorial dedicated to the fallen soldiers in the Iraq-Iran war and was built in 1983. It was designed by architect Saman Kamal and sculptor Ismail Fatah Al Turk.

Located in the Rusafa territory, Qushla is a public square that has great historical importance and was used as a military barrack during the Ottoman era.

Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tentative List, this place is used by the common people for the leisure purpose of reading poetry and also has the iconic clock tower donated by George V.

The Palestine Hotel and the Sheraton Ishtar are the tallest buildings in Baghdad are located in the famous public open space, Firdos Square.

Economy Of Baghdad

With 40% GDP, Baghdad provides 22.2% for the population of Iraq.

The rise of petroleum prices in the 1970s was beneficial for the largest city of Iraq. It enjoyed a fair amount of prosperity and cash flow with its modern water, highway, and sewerage facilities whose plans were provided by Miastoprojekt-Krakow.

But due to continuous tension between the Iraq and Iran front, Iran launched several missile attacks on the provincial capital destroying many infrastructures and killing several people.

With the 2003 invasion of the American army minor riots took place in a few places and continuous aerial assaults made consequential damages to the sanitation, power, and transport system of the city.

In this city of Central Asia, the building of a romantic island was proposed in 2008 on the Tigris river which was a famous honeymoon spot. And also in 2009, investors were found to rebuild downtown Baghdad with several skyscrapers and modern buildings. But due to several corruptions among the political parties, such plans never materialized.

Tigris River played a crucial role in the development of Baghdad.

Population & Culture Of Baghdad

With a 7.2 million population approximately in 2015, the culture of Baghdad has been a glowing jewel in the Arab world.

With the Sunni community taking up the majority of the population, it has also Shia, Assyrian, Armenian, and also large Jewish community.

Culturally it has been a pillar in the Islamic world, with artists like Nizar Qabbani, Salah Al-Hamdani, Ilham al-Madfai, and many others.

In December 2015 it had joined the prestigious UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a city of literature.

The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra funded by the Government is located in Baghdad and performs European and Arab Classics. The sophisticated city also offers cultural education with The Music and the Ballet School of Baghdad and the Institute of Fine Arts Baghdad.


Q: What are two unique facts about Baghdad?

A: Divided into two parts by the Tigris River, the west bank is known as 'Karkh' while the east bank is called 'Risafa'.

Under the seventh Abbasid Caliph Al-Ma'mun, the city flourished vehemently with 'Baytul-Hikmah' or 'the House of Wisdom' consisting of the largest collection of books in the world in the middle of the ninth century.

Q: What is Baghdad famous for?

A: During the Islamic Golden Age, under the Abbasid Dynasty, it became the largest city in the world, and is believed that many stories were taken from this period in the 'One Thousand and One Nights', popularly known as 'Arabian Nights'.

Q: How did Baghdad get its name?

A: The origin of the city name is still quite controversial though it is believed to be pre-Islamic. Some authors and historians believe it has got its name from Middle Persian meaning "bestowed by God" while others believe that it has an Aramaic origin.

Q: Why was Baghdad built in a circle?

A: Baghdad was built in a circle with a 1.2 mi (2 km) diameter, for the purpose of better administration. Inside this, there were government buildings, commercial buildings as well as residential buildings with parks, fountains, and public baths. It varied from that of the Greek or Roman designs whose cities were built in square structures.

Q: Who built the city of Baghdad?

A: The city of Baghdad was built and founded by Caliph al-Mansur and became the capital of his empire and he named it 'Madinat al-Salaam' or 'City of Peace'.

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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