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Culture

Today's Iraq is located in an area with an ancient history. Between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in central and southern Iraq lay Mesopotamia ("the land between two rivers" in Greek), which is one of the world's oldest cultural areas. The cuneiform and the famous poem poem Gilgamesh, which were created during the Sumerian empire (3200-2000 BC), were followed in future cultures by other high-level literature and visual arts.

During the Abbasid caliphate (750–1258 AD), which had Baghdad as its central location, Iraq became a center of Islamic culture for a long time. This period was the golden age of Islam and the Islamic culture spread far beyond the Arab world, which in turn received influences from Persia, the Mongol Kingdom and China. The inspiration for the fairy tales in Thousand and One Nights comes from Iraq during this time.

  • Countryaah: Latest population statistics of Iraq, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.

By the mid-20th century, Iraqi poetry was breaking new ground in the Arab world. The traditional, richly ornate and elaborate forms allowed for a new type of poetry, with poets such as Jamil Sidqi al-Zahawi, Abd al-Wahhab al-Bayati and Badr Shakir al-Sayyab. Nazik al-Malaika (1923–2007) became known as one of the foremost female poets and one of the first to use free verses, but like many other intellectuals, she was forced to flee Iraq under the long rule of the Baath Party (1968–2003). The Iraqi-American poet and author Sinan Antoon has become internationally known in recent years.

The classic Kurdish literature has roots in oral tradition with fairy tales, heroic poems and the like. The national poem Mam u Zin, a love story, was written in the 17th century by Ahmad-i Khani.

  • Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Iraq. Artists and albums are also included.

Culture of IraqAn important role in traditional Kurdish music has long, partly improvised narrative songs, performed by wandering bards, dengbej, for their own lute accompaniment. This tradition has been taken up by contemporary singers, who sing daily political texts in traditional form.

Iraqi musicians have also made an impression in modern pop culture through, for example, Kazim al-Sahir, one of the largest stars in the Arab world.

Architecture is one of the great Arabic art forms. In Iraq, there are a small number of buildings preserved from the Abbasids, including the al-Mutawakkil mosque in Samarra, on the river Tigris, which was once the capital.

Babylon on the Euphrates River, which was the capital of the Mesopotamian Empire some 4,000 years ago, was first put on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2019. The city has become best known for its hanging gardens, the Tower of Babel and the Ishtar Gate. Although much of the finds have been carried abroad and can be seen in museums in Europe, a large area is still available that has not yet been the subject of archaeological excavations.

Iraq's rich heritage of archaeological finds is partially collected at Baghdad's National Museum. In the confusion that ensued after the 2003 US-led invasion, many ancient statues were vandalized and around 15,000 items were stolen. Looters also went on excavations during the war and the UN cultural body UNESCO found that the excavations of Babylon were damaged by an American military base established on the site. Efforts are being made in many places to trace the theft. Eight antique finds seized from a trader in the United Kingdom in 2003, including wedges, were returned to Iraq in 2018. With archaeological detective work, it has been clear from where the finds are coming from. According to data in 2019, the United States has returned some 3,000 ancient finds to Iraq since 2005. Many of the objects have been found in military operations in conflict zones.

The wars of recent years have also left deep traces in the cultural heritage. The extremist movement IS caused great havoc, among other things, by using Hatra, from the time before Christ's birth, as a military exercise area. Numerous sites have been intentionally damaged, including the ancient Nimrud. In Mosul, IS blasted the well-known al-Nuri mosque with a famous leaning minaret and a mosque dedicated to the figure known to Jonah as Christianity, but also the protracted battles when IS was driven out of Mosul went hard to the old city.

2013

September

The opposition ahead in Kurdish elections

The Kurdistan regional parliamentary election will be a huge success for the opposition party Gorran (Movement for Change), which will be the second largest party after the KDP, while President Talabani's party PUK comes only in third place. The KDP gets 38 of Parliament's 111 seats, Gorran 24 and PUK 18. The Kurdistan Islamic Union, which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, gets 10 seats, while the remaining 21 seats are distributed among small parties and independent candidates. Eleven of the places are reserved for ethnic minorities.

August

HD tears up the law on mandate periods

The Supreme Court is tearing up the law passed by Parliament (see January 2013) that the country's highest political leaders should only hold their positions for a maximum of two terms of office. According to the court, the law violated the constitution because the proposal came from Parliament, not from the government.

June

The Kurdish leaders may sit longer

Parliament in autonomous Kurdistan extends the two-year term of local president and KDP leader Massoud Barzani.

May

Terrorists change names

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State in Iraq, appears in a recorded speech and declares that the group will fight in both Syria and Iraq under the name Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (Isis, see Political system).

Political deadlock after elections

The results of the local elections show that Prime Minister al-Maliki's Shiite electoral list The rule of law got the most seats in seven of the provinces where elections were held. However, no partial alliance gets its own majority in any province and the result is interpreted as the polarization between the ethnic or religious groups has increased. The turnout was around 51 percent.

April

Most casualties in almost five years

Throughout April, according to UN estimates, political violence requires 712 lives, of which 211 are in Baghdad alone. The death toll is the highest since June 2008.

Violent election campaign

The days before the local elections on April 20, violence is increasing. During the week before the elections, at least 80 people are killed and over 300 injured in blast attacks around the country. Despite the worsening violence, local elections are being carried out as planned, but only in 12 of the country's 18 provinces.

March

Sunni ministers resign

Finance Minister Rafi al-Issawi and Minister of Agriculture Izz al-Din al-Dawla, both Sunni Muslims, resign in protest of the Shiite domination of the government and the killing of Sunni protesters.

January

Office hours are limited

Parliament adopts a law that the President, the Prime Minister and the President may not hold their positions for more than two terms of office; The law appears to be primarily directed at Prime Minister al-Maliki, whose term of office expires in connection with the 2014 parliamentary elections.

Calling for continued protests

One of Saddam Hussein's closest men, Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, calls on a video from his hiding place Sunni Muslims to continue their protests against the government until Prime Minister al-Maliki has overthrown.

Government Boycott

Sunni Muslim and Kurdish ministers boycott solidarity government meeting with those demonstrating against Prime Minister al-Maliki. In southern Iraq, Shia Muslims are participating in counter-demonstrations in support of the Prime Minister.

 

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