Dozens of Iraqi visitors strolled Friday through Baghdad’s National Museum, now open for free, to admire the “Lamasu,” Mesopotamia’s magnificent winged bulls, and 2,700-year-old Assyrian wall sculptures. Weekend day.
In Iraq, which is recovering from decades of conflict, the Baghdad Museum, founded in 1926 to chronicle 7,000 years of history, has closed and reopened in recent years, depending on the upheavals in the news.
Closed for three years from 2019 due to protests and then the Covid-19 pandemic, the museum reopened in March 2022. It can be visited on weekdays, Sunday to Thursday, 9 am to 1 pm, Friday and Saturday.
“Starting today, the museum will be open every Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to welcome Iraqi families and tourists for free,” Leith Majid Hussain, director of the Iraqi Council of Antiquities, told AFP. Amidst a flood of visitors.
On Friday morning, Iraqis who came in pairs, with friends or even as a family with the youngest in strollers, were able to stroll through the museum’s galleries, an AFP reporter said.
Some had their picture taken in front of a winged bull of two llamas, a mythical creature half-man and half-human, found at the site of an Assyrian city and dating to the 8th century BC.
There are also exquisitely carved ivory miniatures from the Neo-Assyrian period (911-612 BC) and Nimrod (North), used to decorate palaces and royal furniture.
Ahmad Mojar, a 35-year-old lawyer, came with his wife Farah. “It’s the first time,” he admits. “Such creations, so civilized, it’s an indescribable feeling.”
He is happy to see families traveling with their children. “It’s important to teach them this history so it can be passed down from generation to generation.”
Iraq was the cradle of the civilizations of Sumer, Akkad, Babylon and Assyria, to which humanity owes writing and the first cities.
Since the 2003 US invasion, the country has been plagued by looting and antiquities smuggling with the arrival of the Islamic State group.
The Baghdad museum was not looted from the chaos that followed the 2003 invasion against Saddam Hussein. Of the 15,000 coins stolen during that time, authorities were only able to return a third.
Today, despite its crumbling infrastructure, Iraq is a threat to world tourism.
“Coffee trailblazer. Social media fanatic. Tv enthusiast. Friendly entrepreneur. Amateur zombie nerd.”
Gaza Finance City at the pinnacle of Africa’s financial hubs
America is the first market for Moroccan handicrafts
In infodemic times it’s good to think about fact-checking