There’s no better way to celebrate culture and preserve history than opening a museum dedicated just to that! And while a museum in southern Iraq has been a must for a long time, it wasn’t until recently, September 27th to be exact, that the long-awaited Basra Museum opened its first gallery. Few can imagine the struggles of opening a museum in Iraq, but this is a project that has been struggling to come to life for eight years.
Basra museum sets on the lands of Basra, on the southern Shatt Al-Arab, at a former palace of Saddam Hussein. After the city’s old museum was looted and destroyed during the multiple wars that wrecked the city, building a new museum dedicated for the history and the archaeology of southern Iraq became crucial. Getting the historical collection that has been evacuated to Baghdad for protection back, the museum displays artifacts dating from 300 BC to the 18th century including: silver coins minted in Basra, pottery vases, coffins and tiles.
The opening of the museum was definitely inspiring; Iraqis, from government ministers to local teenagers, gathered to gaze at what was left from their country’s past. The museum is supported by the Iraq Ministry of Culture, the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and the Friends of Basrah Museum. Currently only one hall has been opened, but there are plans of opening other wings in the future.
The Minister of Culture, Faryad Raundoz, sees the museum as a step towards reviving the Iraqi history.
“This is a great day for Iraq’s cultural heritage… It is an important example of how the international community can work with Iraqi experts and institutions to improve the way we conserve, celebrate and protect our past.”
An investment in culture and history, Basara Museum is definitely an accomplishment to be appreciated.
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