30+ Interesting Facts About Iraq

  1. Iraq is the birthplace of several ancient civilizations. It is therefore known as the Cradle of Civilization.
  2. Iraq is mainly a hot desert area. Life in Iraq has depended on the rivers of Tigris and Euphrates since ancient times.
  3. Sumer is the first civilization of Iraq that introduced a writing system, wheeled vehicles, and City-States in the world.
  4. The oldest known fictional story is the “Epic of Gilgamesh.” The complete version of this story was written around the 12th Century B.C. by Babylonians. Archaeologists found its lost copy in the 19th Century near Mosul, a northern Iraqi city. (Source)
  5. Foreign empires, including Achaemenid Empire, Parthian Empire, Sassanian Empire, and the Abbasid Caliphate had their capital cities in Iraq. 
  6. Iraq has the 5th largest oil reserves and 7th largest natural gas reserves in the world.
  7. The current Iraqi capital of Baghdad was established in 762 AD by the second Abbasid caliph Al-Mansur.
  8. Baghdad was destroyed by Mongols in 1258. The city could not regain its previous glory till now.
  9. Copper was initially discovered in northern Iraq around 8,700 B.C. For the next five millennia, copper remained the only known metal to humans. (Source)
  10. Before 2003, Baghdad Zoo was the largest zoo in the Middle East. There were more than 600 animals in that zoo before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. (Source)
  11. Iraq is divided into religious and ethnic basis. (Majority Sunni) Kurds, Sunni Arabs, and Shia Arabs are present respectively in the north, center, and south of the country. 
  12. Karbala and Najaf in Iraq are the two most sacred cities for Shia Muslims. Shiites from around the world visit these cities annually on special religious occasions. 
    Tomb of Imam Hussain in Karbala
    Few Iraqi cities are sacred to Shia Muslims
  13. Hanging Gardens of Babylon is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world, located in the Iraqi city of Nineveh. This ancient wonder was established in 600 BC and destroyed around the 1st Century AD.
  14. In northern Iraq, fire is continuously burning in a small area. There are claims that this fire in an oil field has been burning for more than 4000 years. It is known as Baba Gurgur (Father of Fire). (Source)
  15. Babylonians were the first to adopt a year of 12 months and 30 days every month in about 500 BC. Their base 60 fraction system is still in use and remained the main calculation tool for astronomers till the 16th Century. (Source)
  16. According to a study, most Britons are descendants of male farmers that left today’s Iraq and Syria around 10,000 years ago. (Source)
  17. Iraq participated in Summer Olympics for the first time in 1948. The country has won just a single medal in Olympic Games, a bronze medal in Weightlifting. (Source)
  18. The world’s largest cemetery is in the Iraqi city of Najaf. Wadi al-Salam (Valley of Peace) is the name of this cemetery that contains more than 5 million graves. (Source)
    A cemetery
    World's largest cemetery is in Iraq
  19. The Martyr’s (or Al-Shaheed) Monument in Baghdad was built in 1983 to remind Iraqis who died during the Iran-Iraq War. A library and museum are also present in this monument. (Source)
  20. Iraq came under Ottoman control in the 16th Century and remained Ottoman Iraq for most of the time before World War 1.
  21. The modern state of Iraq came into being in 1932 after it gained independence from Britain and became the Kingdom of Iraq.
  22. This kingdom was replaced by the socialist regime of the Baath Party (an Arab-nationalist party) in 1958 after a bloody coup. 
  23. Saddam Hussain became Iraqi president in 1979. During his tenure, Iraq participated in three bloody wars; the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), the Gulf war (1990-91), and the U.S Invasion of Iraq (2003); which resulted in the death of millions of people (mostly Iraqis).  
  24. The founder of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, remained in Iraq for 13 years. Saddam Hussain expelled him in 1978 at the request of the Shah of Iran.
  25. In 1979, Iraq banned karate films due to their violent nature.
  26. Saddam Hussain built a sophisticated underground bunker in the 1980s. The assistance was provided by Yugoslav engineers who had already built a bunker for Marshal Tito. This bunker was capable of protecting Saddam and his companions for 30 days in case of conventional war and five days after a nuclear attack. (Source)
  27. On 7th June 1981, Israel destroyed the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor in Baghdad by using an airstrike.
  28. At the start of the 1990s, the Iraqi regime drained marshes in southern Iraq to punish the people of that area for their uprising against Saddam Hussain. This action is known as one of the greatest ecological disasters in history. (Source
  29. There are 6 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Iraq. 5 of these are cultural, while the last one is a mixed site. (Source)
  30. Iraq is the 4th largest producer of dates in the world. It is just behind Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia in date palm production. (Source) 
  31. After the 2003 occupation of Iraq, the USA imported sand from UAE and Qatar to Iraq for blast walls and other purposes. (Source

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