Each city holds its own treasures. Iraq is a city that has ancient artifacts dating back to 400 B.C., in which visitors can now see at the recently opened antiquities hall in one of Saddam Hussein’s old palaces. The new Basrah Museum is housed in the former Lakeside Palace in a park by the Shatt Al Arab. This new antiquities museum in the southern city of Basra contains pottery, coins and other artifacts dating back more than 2,000 years!
The city of Basra dates back to A.D. 637 and was an important cultural and commercial center of the Abbasid Empire during the Middle Ages. The city was bountiful enough to be a departure point for Sinbad the Sailor’s fictional adventures in Africa and South Asia.
The new hall is full of items that showcase artifacts dating back to 400 B.C. that tell the history of the oil-rich city of the Persian Gulf. There are even plans to open other wings that would exhibit Babylonian, Assyrian and Sumerian artifacts from across Iraq dating back to 3,300 B.C!
Qahtan al-Obaid, the museum’s director, told the Associated Press that he decided to put the exhibit within the palace to:
“Replace the themes of dictatorship and tyranny with civilization and humanity.”
40 volunteers were recruited by Al-Obaid to assist in this rare museum of the Middle East. He also hopes that it will become “a cultural center” for the region. There are other plans to make up for the museum’s lack of archaeological material by encouraging excavations to provide additional finds for display.
“We want a very modern museum that does more than display objects,” Al-Abeed told National Geographic. “We want to bring in people for all kinds of art and cultural activities, including training courses and professional meetings.”
Al-Obeid told NG that the museum is only the beginning.
“We want to make this a heritage area with hotels and restaurants and a heritage museum, but being sure that people still live here, we want to make this like Granada in Spain, but this is a 15-to 20-year project.”
He’s also petitioning to list the area as a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can check out more of the museum here.
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