Baghdad is one of the most iconic cities of the whole of the Middle East. It is well known for its bustling commercial scene, its educational sector, and its position on the river. It’s also an ancient city of sorts and is considered more than a millennium old. It’s also thought to be one of the first cities to ever host a population of more than a million people! Take a look below for 30 fun and amazing facts about Baghdad.
1. Baghdad is the capital city of Iraq and is situated on the Tigris river.
2. The city has a population of 5,772,000!
3. Tehran is the largest city in southwest Asia, with Baghdad in second place.
4. It is not certain how Baghdad got its name. The city we know today was built on settlement identified as existing in AD 800 and thought to have been founded in the year AD 762.
5. The city was built in a circular form. It became the capital of the dynasty of Caliphs known as Abbasid, becoming the focal centre of the Islamic world.
6. The city was conquered by the Grandson of Genghis Khan, Hulegu, the leader of the Mongolian Empire, in 1258.
7. In 1990, bombing began to cause considerable suffering and destruction in the city as a result of the war in the Persian Gulf. Iraq was again bombed, and more considerable destruction continued throughout Gulf War II, which began in 2003.
8. A dam was constructed in 1956 to stop the Tigris River flooding the Baghdad region.
9. The climate of the city reaches high temperatures averaging in the low 40 degrees Celsius during the days from May to September, when at midday, these can peak in the high 40s!
10. Humidity in Baghdad varies from 10% to 50%, so no need to visit a sauna!
11. During winter, temperatures sometimes drop to below freezing and daytime temperatures average 10 degrees Celsius.
12. In the summer, sandstorms are a regular occurrence, though precipitation is rare at only 6 inches average per year!
13. The old part of Baghdad is located on the east bank of the river. This area is known as Al-Rusafa, and the area on the west bank is known as Al- Karkh.
14. Baghdad has a mix of old and new buildings. It is a thriving commercial centre and has many offices for large companies, as well as shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels, and government offices.
15. The riverfront area is near to the palace.
16. It was an important area for entertainment but as increased concerns raised security issues during war times, more buildings became occupied by Government employees, the tone of the area changed.
17. Iraq’s university is found adjacent to the river in Baghdad. It was established in 1957. Education in Iraq is free for school children and those attending university.
18. 1992 saw the opening of the Baghdad Stock Exchange!
19. Double decker ‘Red Buses’ are seen in the city, having been introduced by the British in 2003!
20. 1956 was the year Baghdad Television made its first broadcast!
21. The US finally left Baghdad and Iraq in December 2011.
22. A motorcyclist in Baghdad set a record in 2019, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. He rode the motorcycle at a speed of 88 kilometres per hour (54.7 miles per hour) for 25.97 miles. He was standing on the seat for the whole of the journey!
23. Historians believe that over 1,000 years ago, Baghdad set a record for a city having a population of one million people!
24. Moscow is 300 years younger than Baghdad!
25. Despite its turbulent history, Baghdad is known as the ‘City of Peace’!
26. The famous actor Douglas Fairbanks was the star of the film ‘The Thief of Baghdad’. It was a silent ‘movie’ made in 1924, with a plot adapted from ‘One Thousand and One Nights’.
27. The film was so successful, it was remade in 1940 and 1961. Favourite special effects included the famous ‘flying carpets’!
28. The old walls of the city were up to 12 metres thick at the top, widening to 44 metres thick at the bottom – and they were 30 metres tall!
29. Champion weightlifter Kadhim Sharif al-Jabouri became famous in 2003 on the day ‘Baghdad fell’, when he struck the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad with a sledgehammer.
30. Controversial leader Saddam Hussein became President of Iraq in 1979 on July 16th. He died by hanging on December 30th, 2006, at a military base in Kazmain, a suburb of Baghdad.