Every time I visit baghdad coming from Hilla I come across an astonishing building. In Allawi area at the center of old baghdad lies a building that lured me for a long time, a building so unique that it stands for what Iraq is for, from the beginning of history to our day. In it lies the soul of Iraq where gods, kings, queens and common people are witnesses to what happened to this land.
I was taking my sister to her college in Baghdad, we arrived at 9 am, she told me to wait for several hours as she finishes her exam and return with me through the two hours drive to my city Hilla. During the waiting period, I decided to let my feet lead the way to explore the nearby area. It was the first time for me to wander alone in the marvelous city of Baghdad. After about one hour of wandering around I found my self facing the national museum of Iraq (Al mathaf Al Watany Al Iraqi). I felt cherish and decided to get inside and have a look, fulfilling a long hoped dream. At the exterior gate, I checked with security if the museum was open, they answered positively and showed me the way to its interior door. Through that I entered into a mid sized round hall with high ceiling, there was a counter on the right side with the word “tickets” written above, in which two ladies were sitting and chatting with each other. I greeted them and asked for a ticket, the ticket cost was 2000IQD (1,4$).
Then a man led me inside asking to get on the stairs to the left and start the tour from there.
In the first hall there was a sign reading the following (stone age period hall). The hall was large, well lit. Archaeological articles were put in glass safes, with an identification card by the side. The number and the diversity of the artifacts shown was very unique. Vaired from everyday objects and common people to gods and kings. There were school children carrying notebooks and staring at the artifacts with their teacher and museum guide explaining in simple words what are they seeing, I actually enjoyed joining them for awhile.
Next hall was the bronze age, Sumerian followed, and there was a Babylonian hall, Assyrian, with the infamous Lamassu the protectors of the city. Then through Hatra, Romans, and Islamic periods. Summing up 18 halls in total each tells a chapter from the history of Mesopotamia.
In addition to the masterpieces that were shown through the halls of the museum, something else draw my attention, something I didn’t know I would find here. I found Iraq 🇮🇶! Yes, as simple as that!
As a follower to many western news agencies and media platforms I come across many articles saying that Iraq was artificial state, that didn’t exist before the British and its people couldn’t live together! In that Museum I found a proof to the opposite. There were stories and pieces of one people from every corner of Iraq, from the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan to the shores of Basra. As a whole these pieces when put together form what we know today (actually from few thousands years before) Iraq.
My tour was abruptly cut while I was in the sixth hall, as my sister called asking me to come back for her as she finished her exam, I rushed through the remaining halls, snapping few pictures and leaving the museum with an astonishing experiment, a determination to visit again and to visit other heritage sites in Iraq.
Leaving you with few pictures, which I snapped with my mobile camera :).
PS: the museum opens Sunday to Thursday during day working hours (8am to 3pm) and on Saturday from 8am to 1pm not sure from the latter!