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Baghdad: A Journey Back in Time to My Hometown

In October 2023, I embarked on a poignant journey to Baghdad, a city I had not visited since 1990. As I stepped off the plane and set foot in the same airport that witnessed my farewells and childhood memories, I couldn’t help but marvel at the resilience of a place that had weathered decades of change.

Baghdad International Airport, once known as Saddam International Airport, greeted me with a mix of nostalgia and surprise. The airport, still standing tall, seemed to retain its original essence despite the turbulent years that had passed. It was a surreal experience to walk the same halls and corridors that I had traversed as a child, only to find that, in many ways, the heartbeat of the city remained unchanged.

Al Zawra Park

A Green Oasis in the Heart of the City: My first stop was Zawra Park, a sprawling green oasis that has stood the test of time. As I strolled through the park, I couldn’t help but appreciate the efforts to maintain this haven of tranquility amidst the urban hustle. Families picnicked, children played, and couples enjoyed leisurely walks—Zawra Park, with its iconic lake and lush landscapes, was a testament to the endurance of beauty amid adversity.

Exploring Al Mansour District

Al Mansour District, a vibrant neighborhood that had witnessed both the best and the worst, had an unmistakable energy. The streets buzzed with life as locals went about their daily routines, and the colorful markets displayed an array of goods. The juxtaposition of modernity and tradition in Al Mansour was a striking reminder of the city’s dynamic spirit.

The Iconic Al Rasheed Street

Strolling Down Al Rasheed Street and Tahrir Square: Al Rasheed Street and Tahrir Square, once bustling thoroughfares, had not lost their charm. The historic buildings, adorned with intricate architecture, whispered tales of bygone eras. Tahrir Square, a symbol of both protests and celebrations, bore witness to the resilience of a people determined to shape their own destiny.

Former Al Rasheed Hotel

The hotel, standing tall since the 1980s, provided a window to the city’s historical evolution, a city that had undergone immense transformations over the years.

Masgouf Fish and Iraqi Kebab

No visit to Baghdad is complete without indulging in the city’s culinary treasures. I savored the renowned Masgouf fish, grilled to perfection with a smoky flavor that transported me back to childhood gatherings by the Tigris River. Iraqi kebabs, with their aromatic spices and succulent meat, were a gastronomic delight that encapsulated the rich culinary heritage of the region.

My journey to Baghdad in October 2023 was a voyage through time, reconnecting with a city that had shaped my identity. The same airport, the enduring parks, the vibrant districts, and the culinary delights—all whispered stories of resilience, strength, and the unwavering spirit of the people of Baghdad. As I bid farewell, I left with a heart full of memories and a renewed appreciation for the indomitable soul of my hometown.


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