Amanat Baghdad decided last week to renovate four main streets in the Iraqi capital in preparation for celebrations honouring Baghdad as the 2013 Capital of Arab Culture.
The renovations, which will be funded directly by the mayoralty, will employ the latest international designs, officials told Mawtani.
Hakim Abdul Zahra, director of media and public relations at the mayoralty, said the project includes renovating two major streets in al-Karkh, and two in al-Rusafa. The streets to be renovated will be decided upon within the next few days.
"There are numerous projects Amanat Baghdad intends to undertake to showcase Baghdad in a way that suits it as a capital of Arab culture, and befits it as a city with long history and wealth of cultural heritage," he told Mawtani.
The mayoralty recently renovated a number of major streets, including the airport road, al-Saadoun, Abu Nuwas and al-Mutanabbi streets, and two streets in Sadr City, as well as two others in al-Dora, which were developed by foreign companies, he said.
Sabah Sami, media spokesman for the mayoralty, told Mawtani the Baghdad mayor instructed officials to use funds from the special Amanat Baghdad budget to finance the latest renovations, without using Capital of Arab Culture project funds.
The mayoralty will select a special committee within the next few days and task them with carrying out this initiative, he said.
Renovation work includes "paving streets, adding curbs, improving sidewalks, installing lighting, putting in a sanitation system and rainwater drainage pipes, and removing encroachments", he said.
According to Sami, Amanat Baghdad will continue to renovate the capital through several other projects.
Work "has already begun renovating a total of 70 streets in 14 municipal districts, while five streets were designated to have their medians planted with trees," decorated with huge flowerpots and updated with new lighting systems, he said.
Sami said Amanat Baghdad has its own annual celebrations, which this year will be part of Baghdad as the Capital of Arab Culture festivities. These include the Flowers Festival, held this year under the slogan "Baghdad is culture and flowers", and Baghdad Day.
Celebrations honouring Baghdad as the 2013 Capital of Arab Culture will kick off on March 23rd, with Arab and international figures in attendance.
"In order to make Baghdad looks its best, we have started to renew and decorate many streets, groom gardens, add aesthetic touches, plant trees and lay down new green grass," Ali al-Bayyati, an engineer from the municipal district of al-Adhamiyah, told Mawtani.
The work also includes "beautifying historic sites, caring for statues and landmarks in al-Adhamiyah, and cleaning up and removing encroachments", he said. "We want to make the neighbourhoods in al-Adhamiyah look the best in terms of development, beauty and cleanliness, and this is part of the Baghdad as the Capital of Arab Culture project."