Baghdad… When was it founded… And who built it ?
Baghdad is the capital of the Abbasid state, with its glorious history and glorious civilization. It was considered to be one of the capitals of the world because of its historical role as the capital of culture, science, arts and political history. Its civilization was recorded in hundreds of records to reveal its civilized face, It was described as one of the greatest cities of engineering and accuracy, it enjoys a mild climate and good location.
It was built at the will of the Caliph Abu Jaafar al-Mansur, in the construction of a new capital for his state, far from the cities where there is frequent rebellion against the Caliphate, such as Kufah and Basra. He chose Baghdad and was established on the west bank of the Tigris River.
And the first stone was built by him in the year (145 AH = 762 m) and thousands of architects and engineers , legal experts , surveyors and carpenters , blacksmiths , diggers and ordinary laborers were recruited from across the Abbasid empire , and the construction was completed in (149 H = 766 m) and the Caliph and his entourage moved to it and with him the state ‘s records .
Since then, it has been the capital of the Abbasid state and has been called the City of Peace (Madinat al-Salam ), then , Dar al-Salam, a name of paradise, or using the name of the Tigris river which is called the River of Peace, also called the city of Mansur, because the love of Abu Jaafar al-Mansur to Baghdad and it was called the round city , where Abu Jaafar al-Mansur reconstructed of Baghdad in the form of round, a circle so that it can be accessed from four doors, namely Bab al-Sham and Kufa, Kharsan and Basra.
And al- Mansour worked to expand it in the year (151 e = 768 m) by the establishment of another city on the eastern side named Rusafa, made it the HQ for his son and his heir, “Mahdi” and built for it a wall, trench, mosque and a palace, and soon that Rusafa was developed and expanded and people’s demand for housing was increased .
Mansur was known for his devotion to spreading the various sciences, sponsoring Muslim scholars and others, and establishing the House of Wisdom (Bait al-Hikma) at the Caliphate Palace in Baghdad to be a center for translation into Arabic.
Abu Jaafar al-Mansur sent a letter to the Roman emperor asking him for some Greek books. So the emperor sent him books in medicine, engineering, arithmetic, and astronomy. A number of translators translated them into Arabic. A manager supervised the House of Wisdom (Bait al-Hikma) and managed its affairs.
Bait al-Hikma included a group of translators, the copiers and the storekeepers who store the books, and other workers, and the House of Wisdom remained until the Mongols invaded Baghdad in 656 AH (1258 AD). This led to the decline of its role over the centuries due to successive strikes and successive empires. As an independent state (formerly under the British Mandate) in 1938, Baghdad gradually regained its former importance as a center of Arab culture.
Baghdad, capital of Iraq:
Baghdad is the largest city in Iraq, the second largest city in the Arab world after Cairo, and ranks 16th in the world in terms of population, it is the administrative, economic and educational center of the state.
It has an area of about 204.2 square kilometers. It is a city that has retained its name since ancient times. Baghdad has witnessed many ages and times. It is a witness to the ancient and contemporary civilizations of man.
According to the Central Statistical Organization of Iraq (2018), the population of Baghdad exceeds eight million, and the total population of Iraq exceeded 38 million.
Baghdad is an educational, economic and administrative center for the entire country. The site of the city is an important geographical location in terms of water availability, with no risks of floods. This was a major reason for increasing the city’s area and increasing its influence. , and because of its ease of communication through the Tigris bridges where the river comes in the middle of the city to divide it into two halves, they are Rusafa and Karkh.
Baghdad has cultural and urban significance because it contains many schools, museums, theaters, libraries, Islamic monuments, city walls, the Caliphate house, the Mustansiriya School and other landmarks.
In modern times, the city has often been heavily damaged by its infrastructure, most recently during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its consequent destruction of the city.
Economy of Baghdad:
Baghdad is an important trading center, as it is the point of contact between Turkey, Syria, India and Southeast Asia and it is the main hub of industry in Iraq, contributing 40% of Iraq’s GDP. The city of Baghdad is administratively divided into nine regions and sub-districts.
The city contains the factories of carpets, leather and textiles, and is the center of many factories and workshops, cement and tobacco factories, and oil refining is the most important economic areas, the industrial areas extend from the center of Baghdad to outside and suburbs, such as the Taji and northern Baghdad.
In eastern Baghdad, an oil field, one of the largest reserves of oil in Iraq, in addition to al-Dourah refinery close to the it, it is the third largest refinery in Iraq in terms of production, it was believed that the quantities of oil is modest, but the drilling disclosed that its size exceeds the initial estimates , and has northern extensions in the province of Salah al-Din, and southern province of Wasit, and the production of it exceeds twenty thousand barrels per day, while its total production estimated if it was developed up to (120) thousand barrels per day.
Baghdad has the largest three financial banks in Iraq (Central – Rafidain – Rashid) and the largest three insurance companies.
Baghdad, like other provinces (Babel, Karbala and Qadissiya) in central and southern Iraq, contains metals such as aluminum, ceramics, nickel, manganese and chromium, whose size is not yet known , being recently discovered by local Iraqi cadres lacking experience and mechanisms to determine the size of these explorations.
In addition to what is mentioned above , it contains the most important tourist attractions, visited by more than one million tourists a year, while in terms of agricultural aspect , palm groves are spread in the city , especially on the banks of the Tigris River, and many of its people depends on the cultivation of many yields.
The most prominent Landmarks of Baghdad City:
• Mustansiriya School: Founded in 1233 AD during the Abbasid period by the Caliph Al Mustansir Balah. It occupies an important scientific and cultural position. It has a large fountain and a wonderful hour, which is a witness to the advancement of science among the Arabs at that time.
. Al-Khulafa Mosque (Mosque of the Caliphs) was built by the Caliph Ali Al-Maqtafi Allah. It was called the Mosque of the Palace. It was named later the Mosque of the Caliph, which is one of the historical landmarks in Baghdad. In 1327, Ibn Battuta mentioned it during his visit to Baghdad, it contains historical and distinguished minarets the only remaining mark of the House of the Abbasid Caliphate and mosques.
• Al-Hadra Al-Kadhimiya: This is the tomb of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, and his grandson Imam Muhammad Al-Jawad. It was built in their grave in Kadhimiya area in Baghdad.
• The Mosque of Grand Imam (Imam al-Adham): located in the northern part of Baghdad, and in the year (2003) many parts of it were destroyed after the war.
Iraq, in all its provinces, is one of the most solid countries in the world in economy, because it has a huge reservoir of natural resources. However, despite of this huge amount of unemployed human resources due to poor planning and lack of a clear economic vision for economic development, Iraq reached to what it is now.
When Iraq’s civilization and glory return.. Baghdad returns to be the city of science and culture… Baghdad of civilization and originality… It is the fragrance of history, and it contains all the cultural evidence on the history of Islamic countries, and it is still full of all the lofty meanings in the hearts of its people, Baghdad… a wonderful city of Arabs… Wonderful Capital of the great state of Iraq, the pens dry when we talk about Baghdad and its masterpieces.
Baghdad in the eyes of the poet Mohammed Mahdi Jawahiri :
Tigris you are the Jewel of Baghdad in cheering and flirtatious
Till when you stay the Jewel as far as tackles with those in powers
You Tigris is the witness of” thousands and One Nights”
Still its tone is eternal and stays delight
One day you were the amusement resort of Abu Nawas the poet
Since the civilization had attired one day the Harun al-Rashid ornament
He was the courteous perfect man of sweet time
Who made the wisdom generally even in those mad people
Who, he dragged the jar of wine reluctantly on hateful manners
Who, he spent the money on charity thousand and thousands a day
Ho he pawned the silk damask clothes dispraisingly
A caliph …he is the inspirer of ancient arts to be diversely.
He was the hearer of era and its people the knocking of bells one day.
Still knocks and knocks at the festival of Palm Sunday
Tigris the welfare donor, however, the age is about to end
Good deed and the vicious deed never blend
No good deed that is with viciousness is associated
Every good deed may be followed by purity of Angels
Not to be free of Satan act unless with good-hearted
Shatha Khalil *
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies