Baghdad, the capital of one of the most mystical countries in the world, Iraq, houses magnificence and brilliance that can bedazzle even the most seasoned traveller. But, if you’re running tight on time, read on to ensure you explore the best of Baghdad in 48 hours. By Kumar Shree
Despite being one of the cities that was founded much later in the day, Baghdad was quick enough to establish itself as a prominent centre of cultural and commercial importance. The city ensures a strong intellectual foothold and houses establishment like the House of Wisdom, thus, earning itself the bygone sobriquet of the, ‘city of learning’. The city was formerly known as Madīnat al-Salām, which translates as the ‘city of peace’. Baghdad is also home to many restaurants, cafés, and public spaces. Ah, and did we mention the local Tigris fish masgouf? It’s a delicacy that you cannot afford to miss!
1. National Museum Of Iraq
Given that you’re in a city that is build on the pillars of rich history, development, education, war, destruction, and then re-establishment — it seems like an obvious choice to start your journey with discovering the pulse of Baghdad — at the National Museum Of Iraq. Here, you can get a gist of all that’s happened in the Mesopotamian city since its existence. This would make for a perfect start to the trip and will warm you up for the many marvels you’ll witness as you move ahead on your trip.
2. Mutanabbi Street
The street that borrows its name from the 10th-century classical Iraqi poet is the current day historic centre for book selling in Baghdad. The street located at one of the oldest Al Rasheed street near the old quarter of Baghdad is considered as the centre of the city’s intellectual community that has been vital in the growth of literacy rate in Baghdad. The street is a testimonial to Baghdad’s glorious days when it was known as the ‘city of learning’ throughout the world.
3. Baghdad Zoo
What once used to be the largest zoological park in the entire Middle East was destroyed in the 2003 invasion of the city by America. This resulted in huge loss of the lives of many animals housed in the zoo thus throwing the functioning off its axis. However, in the present day, the zoo is restored to functional state and is one of the must-visit spots in Baghdad.
4. Al-Shaheed Monument
As the name suggests, the Al-Shaheed Monument is a memorial for martyrs commemorating the sacrifice of Iraqi soldiers who gave up their lives during the war between Iran and Iraq. The monument came into existence during the reign of dictator Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi population later associated the monument with the sacrifices of all the Iraqi fighters ever than just those during the Iran-Iraq war. The Al-Shaheed Monument is recommended for its sheer magnitude and historic significance. It’s also a staunch reminder of the fact that war is not the answer.
A public square of historical significance, Qushla can be termed as a central spot for most of the important locations in Baghdad. Mutanabbi Street, old palaces, bridges, mosques, and madarsas, all are located around Qushla. A clock tower donated by George V is what adds character to the area, and the tower as well as the area has been submitted for conideration to the UNESCO world heritage site list.
6. Swords of Qādisīyah
This structure is a victory arch; it depicts an arc-shaped structure with two hands holding the swords. This monument commemorates the country’s victory over Iran during the war and is also known as the hands of victory.
While these are some of the must-visit spots that you can cover as you explore Baghdad in 48 hours, you have to try the local culinary delicacies — Iraqi tea with some puffs of narguileh, a fruity waterpipe; a traditional Iraqi dinner of stuffed roast lamb and rice called quzi; Iraqi kebabs and wood fire roasted carp fish are some of the offerings that you should opt for.
Note: Travelling to Baghdad is not advisable because of the hostile situations and war-like conditions hanging in the city. We hope that someday everything clears up and Baghdad opens its doors to the rest of the world for witnessing its glory.