Amanat Baghdad launches project to develop historic Adhamiyah district

A view of a street in the old section of Adhamiyah. [Mahmoud al-Mulhim/Mawtani]

A view of a street in the old section of Adhamiyah. [Mahmoud al-Mulhim/Mawtani]

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Amanat Baghdad has begun carrying out a project to revive and develop the historic Adhamiyah district that surrounds the shrine of Imam Abu Hanifa al-Numan.

The three-stage project, which began at the beginning of April, is part of a series of projects to develop the capital and revive its historical districts.

According to Sabah Sami, director of relations and media at Amanat Baghdad, the first stage involves inviting specialised engineering groups to submit design proposals, the second stage will choose the winning contract, and the third phase will see the execution of the project.

Currently, five local, Arab and international engineering groups are competing to win the contract.

The competing groups are the German Uberbau, the Spanish AV62 Arquitectos, the Al-Qatif Engineering Bureau in collaboration with the Spanish Balam Consultores, the Italian City Architecture and Landscape Studio and Sami al-Musawi's Iraqi bureau.

The area surrounding the shrine encompasses four residential areas (sections 308, 310, 312 and 314) in the Shuyoukh, Haibat Khatoon, Hara, Safeena and Nassa neighbourhoods.

A 20-member committee of engineers and representatives from Iraqi universities, the General Commission on Antiquities and Heritage, the Sunni Endowment and the provincial council will study the designs submitted by the five companies and select the best one.

"There are many ideas on how to develop the area, including taking ownership of historic landmark houses to renovate them and turn them into places associated with heritage, culture, arts and literature, such as turning them into art galleries, cultural or literary clubs, or museums," Sami said.

He said the project also includes the creation of an Amanat Baghdad bureau that will maintain the heritage and historic landmarks in the area.

Large meeting halls, gardens and restaurants will be constructed, streets will be rehabilitated and refurnished with modern lighting systems, billboards, bus waiting areas and direction signs, and sidewalks will be re-tiled, he said.

The expansion of the structure of the Imam Abu Hanifa al-Numan shrine, and the construction of a guesthouse for visitors and guests, will also be included in the project, Sami said.

Adhamiyah carries 'historical depth'

Abdul Salam al-Dulaimi, member of the Adhamiyah municipal council, praised the project for developing the heritage of the district.

"Adhamiyah deserves this attention because it carries a certain historical depth that cannot be ignored, and also in view of its exceptional location in the capital," he told Mawtani.

Al-Dulaimi called for the "inclusion of other areas of Adhamiyah in the renovation project because of their touristic importance, the most important of which is the Gerayat area overlooking the Tigris River, which is visited by tourists coming from all parts of Iraq to enjoy Iraqi cuisine served at restaurants floating in the river".

"There is a good chance of success for tourist projects resulting from the Adhamiyah development project," said Khalid al-Essawi, a member of the National Investment Commission.

"What makes Adhamiyah exceptional is the presence of a large number of shrines of many great scholars of Islam, which have become destinations for visitors coming from various Islamic countries, in addition to the presence of the royal cemetery in which members of the Iraqi monarchy family are buried," al-Essawi said. "There are also very old mosques that are hundreds of years old, in addition to its exceptional location on the shores of the Tigris River."

"Therefore, it needs the construction of modern hotels, large commercial malls and tourist restaurants. I believe the opportunity is viable for investors to achieve that," he said.

The project is one in a series that aims to develop the historic and heritage areas in Baghdad, which include renovating the Rasheed Street district, developing the area extending between this street and the Tigris River, and developing the area surrounding the Kadhimiya shrine.

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  • READER COMMENTS

    وقاص حمد

    2012-5-22

    The people of Baghdad are suffering every minute and second from the scourge of terrorism, which controls the Iraqi street leading to the lack of security in Baghdad. This has led to the destruction of the Iraqi economy, in addition to the increase in the number of explosions that led to the destruction of the streets and the civil and governmental buildings, which made the government spread a lot of checkpoints in Baghdad to maintain security, leading to frequent traffic jams and a large number of accidents in the streets because of the crowding, which became a primary concern in the streets of Baghdad. Among the problems and concerns that do not have any solution, in addition to the closure of a number of main and branch roads in Baghdad, on the one hand and on the other hand, the impact of terrorism on the economy, especially in Baghdad.

  • ابو سلمان

    2012-5-21

    I support such a great work and efforts. All officials and the Government in general are supposed to give the country a brighter image. They should show more interest in streets which have become annoying because of the frequent holes, bumps and congestion. In fact, authorities did not make plans to develop streets and expand them in order to accommodate the large number of vehicles. The authorities should also care for regions and provide them with services. In this respect, the valuable urban heritage which represents the history of this great country requires some improvements. Indeed, Iraq is the land of successive civilizations. It is a pioneer in terms of culture, literature, Arts and Islam. Therefore, this legacy should be maintained because it is the responsibility of the successive generations. The antiques of Iraq are subjected to sabotage, theft. Besides, the terrorists and the criminal gangs specialized in the theft of relics made many attempts to destroy or steal these antiques. The latter should be protected against those dirty hands.

  • ذنون فاضل

    2012-5-21

    We notice that some of these historic places are not demolished but they were painted in a way that makes them lose their historic identity. Hence, we call on the Iraqi government to preserve these areas, especially in Baghdad, which is considered the essence of the heritage of Iraq through the regular maintenance of these areas and preventing the residents from demolishing them, because the protection of the heritage is an old human demand. Hence, this is the responsibility of the government represented in the concerned authorities, which must exert serious efforts in this respect because it is related to the history of Iraq and its regions. When one discovers that his history is over for any reason, he will lose his identity. Hence, we demand that the government protect the identity of Iraq and the Iraqis through preserving their regional history that they inherited from their fathers.

  • هادي غانم

    2012-5-21

    Many of the ancient areas in Iraq are considered among the main riches of this country. However, this wealth suffers from neglect, especially since 2003. These ancient locations suffered from neglect and they are being looted at the hands of the gangs who steal the monuments and smuggle them abroad. These areas also suffered from destruction because of the terrorist operations in addition to the official neglect and disinterestedness as well as the old buildings whose walls and roofs collapsed. Furthermore, the government does not monitor these areas, which were demolished and replaced with other buildings. This is a result of the lack of awareness among the people about the necessity of preserving these areas. Many ancient locations also turned into areas for collecting garbage instead of being a place for the tourists to learn about the history of the country. The ancient locations represent the history and identity of the country and the region. However, this is unfortunately about to end.

  • فارس حمدي

    2012-5-21

    Terrorism had a serious influence on the economy and many markets in Baghdad were destroyed completely as a result of the terrorist acts. For example, Al-Mutanabi Market has a great history in Baghdad and its destruction caused millions of dollars in losses. The same thing took place in Al-Shourjah Market in Baghdad. Likewise, terrorism caused a decline in the number of the investors who are willing to invest in Baghdad, because they are afraid of being killed or kidnapped. The residents of Baghdad, particularly the students, also suffer from terrorism. All Iraqis still remember the explosions and bombings that targeted many Iraqi universities and schools that killed many innocent students in Baghdad in addition to a number of attacks on the Iraqi university professors that included assassinations with muffled guns, kidnapping and murder at the hands of the terrorists. On the other hand, terrorism demolished a number of the ministries that led to death of many innocent employees, let alone the concrete barricades that encircled the Iraqi cities because of terrorism, transforming Baghdad into a large prison, because entry to and exit from these areas is unified. The fear of terrorism is still there and the society of Baghdad suffers from it terribly. Thanks to God.

  • قادر الحارثي

    2012-5-15

    I hope that the Government will form special committees responsible for the follow up on the work of State agencies. These committees should ensure the follow up of this issue in particular in order to promote projects in Iraq. In fact, the authorities must follow up the implementation of the prestigious projects which receive huge budgets. They should not be content with promises only. The Government is always promising the citizens to implement projects. However, we see nothing on the ground despite the big number of declared projects and new contracts. Eventually, we find out that these contracts were signed with fictional companies. Consequently, the citizens do not trust any of the declared projects because of the widespread corruption. Indeed, the corrupt people and the spoilers do not leave any opportunity for the country to make any development or progress. Iraq is still underdeveloped. In fact, the public funds allocated to these projects are usually stolen by the large number of corrupt people. Unfortunately, the latter are receiving protection from some politicians and officials. There is significant financial and administrative corruption. Such corruption has continued in Iraq for many years. So far, authorities have never dealt with them. The offenders accused of being involved in corruption are never held accountable. Indeed, officials often cover up these issues and hide important documents that accuse the corrupt. I think that authorities should form committees independent from political parties and influential Government officials. These committees could be made of retired intellectual doctors in order to follow up the issues of corruption. These people should be independent in order to face all parties without fear. In so doing, whoever is involved in corruption and theft of State funds will be held accountable by the Judiciary.

  • ايوب

    2012-5-11

    Iraq is a country of goodness and the country of history, heritage and civilization. Every street in Baghdad or in Iraq had a memory and a Historic Site because Iraq is one of the Arab States that are making history. What is happening in Iraq is all about important things that will be marked in history for the next generation, and the duty of every Iraqi is to preserve his history and the authenticity of Iraq and the Iraqis. There are a lot of streets or traditional areas in Iraq that every Iraqi must preserve as much as he can in order to be confident that Iraq is the country of wealth and the heritage of Iraq is very important. We must do our best in order to preserve it. There are many important heritage places of Baghdad, the most important of which is in Al Aadhamiya and in other parts of Baghdad. Their importance is very significant and we should maintain them in any way. The Iraqi Government should have been working on the provision of investment projects as well as on the construction and reconstruction activities in order to be working on the provision of that service to Iraq and the Iraqis. Iraq needs progress and development. What happened to Iraq during the time of wars or terrorist acts, we have to find a solution for it in order to bring Iraq back to a better condition than what it was in the past. O Allah, my Lord, save Iraq and the Iraqis. God willing, Lord of the universe, the Iraqi Government will be doing everything it can in order to work for the service of Iraq and the Iraqis.

  • موسى اسماعيل

    2012-5-10

    Taking an interest in such places is a positive matter and a source of joy and happiness, and we hope for more work and effort in this direction in order to maintain our regions heritage and give it a new life, in order to turn the attention towards it from all directions inside or outside Iraq, with the possibility of allocating such places to set up concerts, cultural and artistic poetry readings, and so we may supply art, culture and the Iraqi artist with a lot, so that our country will return to its normal condition in this area. Therefore, the trend in this direction will have a lot of pros, and it is a good job thanks to all those who support it, and thanks also to anyone who tries to preserve the rich heritage of Iraq with a lot of feats that we must all work to preserve and restore again.

  • ماجد الساعدي

    2012-5-8

    The relevant authorities should provide security for the heritage sites in the cities and protect them from collapsing or falling apart or being tampered with by those that do not have any regard or concern for these sites out of ignorance or selfish interests, causing them to be unconcerned about the country’s heritage, which is part of their bright and radiant past. The engineering departments of the relevant authorities should work on maintaining them in order to preserve this cultural legacy, in addition to providing security for these sites, as they reflect the civilization and history of Iraq throughout the various eras of history.

  • ليلى احمد صايل

    2012-5-7

    It is a patriotic duty to take care of the historic sites in all the cities of Iraq, and we all have to do this, as these traditional and historic sites are an extension and a complementary part of this bright history of our country, and all the people across the world take pride in the historic sites that they have. We, too, have to move in that direction, and we have to work together in order to preserve these historic sites because of their importance and their significance in the hearts of all the Iraqis. I am supportive of all the efforts that are being made in that regard, and we have many historic sites in Baghdad and many other provinces in Iraq, and all these historic sites should be taken care of, such as renovating them and asphalting their roads and restoring their appeal, so that they become sites that attract visitors and researchers, and become sites that showcase the legacy and culture of Iraq.

  • صالح حسين الراوي

    2012-5-7

    It is important to preserve the historic streets and sites in the cities.

  • باسل محمد

    2012-5-4

    I would like to criticize severely the Government given that the majority of its officials are growing more and more corrupt. For this reason, the Government is not dealing with corruption since everyone knows that many files will not be raised and a lot of the personalities from those who have been claiming patriotism and protecting the money of Iraq from theft will fall down. In fact, these people are the first reason for the persistence of corruption through concluding all such suspicious deals.

  • قحطان زغير

    2012-5-2

    Corruption in the Iraqi Government is still as it was before, but it has increased to the worst. If we analyzed the services provided for the citizens, for example the security aspect, where is the blessing of security which every citizen everywhere wishes, and what we see of bombings that shake the whole country of Iraq day after day, as well as the fall of more victims and the promising declarations that we receive from the officials that they are in control of the situation? If we turned to the electricity services that are still one of the greatest problems from which the Iraqi citizen is suffering, they are very bad or lacking in many areas, which negatively affect the citizen in his normal life. Also, the water supply is very bad, and this can be attributed to the presence of a failure in the water stations that supply the cities. The education problems grow worse one day after another, which has led to an increase in the spread of illiteracy as well as the presence of a high unemployment rate. Where is the role of the government in providing job opportunities for the individuals and also the agriculture that has been greatly affected by Iraq’s war? It has still not developed, and the citizen has been paying a lot of money in order to get the food which has to be imported from abroad. There is also the lack of reclaiming the lands, providing an environment for the farmers, or encouraging them to plant so as to make themselves self-sufficient. Industry has greatly deteriorated in Iraq. In Iraq, there is no agriculture or industry and the money is stolen and looted by the senior officials under the guise of establishing projects. If we had a look at the projects’ budget, we will find that it is in millions and you may find that the project does not deserve those millions. The reality is that the Iraqi citizen is robbed and he will keep paying the price alone.

  • حبيب

    2012-4-28

    My opinion of the construction projects in Iraq is that they have witnessed many cases of corruption and theft and do not exist on the ground and are just plans that are talked about and a lot of people are still waiting to see. These projects have long been talked about but unfortunately, what is happening is that people hear through the news that there is fraud and administrative and financial corruption, and that the money of a certain project had been stolen, and the list goes on with the names of the projects that are said to be implemented in Iraq. Unfortunately, what is happening is just a matter of theft, nothing more nor less, and there are no service projects accomplished in Iraq because the citizen is still suffering from a large and very sharp shortage in terms of the services and perpetrators of thefts that occurred are not and will not be punished or held accountable or brought to justice in front of people. All that is happening is covering up of all the crimes of those who stole the money of the Iraqi people.

  • عبدالله

    2012-4-28

    The situations in Iraq no longer satisfy anyone. The Iraqi citizens are suffering from poor public facilities and services. It is not enough for the citizens to face life's difficulties and search for their next meal to be able to live. However, they are also suffering now from the lack of access to part of their rights as natural human beings. The officials do not care about the concerns of the citizens and their interests. The citizens do not have any good service. The problem of electricity, for example, is strongly suffered by the Iraqi citizen and the officials did not work to find a solution for it so far and the citizen is without electricity. As for the point of services of water and sewage, the water is needed by humans daily and the Iraqi citizens are suffering from the lack of water supplies there. There are citizen, who are not supplied with water, but only through purchasing it or carrying it from far away. Even if there is water, you find it unfit for human consumption. As for the sanitation, although Iraq has a giant sewage network in the era of the former President Saddam Hussein, since the war in Iraq it has been damaged due to the lack of the necessary maintenance work. They became obsolete and needed maintenance and renewal of some networks in order to become prepared for work. The problem of the roads in Iraq is that they are suffering from great poverty. They are either unpaved or broken; therefore, the citizen faces difficult and bad issues that may happen to his own means of transportation. It may be damaged or need frequent maintenance due to the poor maintenance of the roads.

  • بدر عبد الله

    2012-4-25

    Despite the huge budgets of the municipalities in Baghdad and across Iraq that may even be the largest municipal budgets in the world, there is a clear shortage in the municipal services that are offered to the Iraqi citizen. We see in the different mass media that there are many projects that will be carried out in Iraq to serve large segments of the citizens, but we soon discover that they are illusory projects and that they are no more than ink on paper. Alternatively, they will be carried out without meeting the specifications that are stated in the contract. For example, the bridges that are built in Iraq suffer from fractures within a short period after completion, and we would like to know who is responsible for this these mistakes, to bring him to justice for his responsibility for such mistakes that may cause disasters and heavy human losses along the Iraqi citizens in case of the collapse of some bridges. We notice total neglect on part of the government towards such corruption cases, and the similar cases, which are related to the municipal services in particular.

  • طارق ابراهيم الريحاني

    2012-4-25

    The Iraqi government has failed and the future of Iraq and the Iraqi youth is lost and nobody can do anything about it. I only want the Iraqi government to consider the Iraqis’ status and find a solution so as to let Iraq live in peace and safety. I call upon Almighty God to grant all the goodness and blessings to Iraq and the Iraqis, and God willing, the government will work on solving a lot of issues. I am realizing that Iraq will be one of the best Arab countries and will become better than before. God willing, all goodness and blessings for Iraq and the Iraqis; please my God have mercy upon them and give them goodness. I wish that the Iraqi future will be prosperous and that companies will work on building and construction, and that all the Iraqi departments will abandon corruption and return all the services to Iraq. I hope that there will be job opportunities for the unemployed youth and I wish that there will be many opportunities open for the Iraqis. I wish that it will become better than before, but what can we tell al-Maliki’s government except God is sufficient and the best guardian and we want goodness from you and to stop stealing our money. We need nothing from you but to restore safety and security and to work on providing all the matters that the Iraqi citizen needs. Please my God, keep Iraq from the north to the south, Amen.

  • باقر حميد

    2012-4-24

    If we pursue the rates of projects in Iraq, we are aware that the issue of reconstruction and construction in Iraq is going forward by leaps and bounds. But this process, which we believe is all the best and successful, faces many obstacles and challenges. These are a stumbling block for the seamless development naturally. There are many challenges. First comes the issue of corruption, which was a scourge which weakens the body. This corruption causes the decline of the rates of the accomplishment of a lot of construction projects and the delay of some or the completion of some projects, but I don't think they were at the level of ambition expected. Many projects, including but not limited to interest in road projects, or the extension of the sewer networks that did not succeed as required because of corruption, which has also contracted with some companies which do not have the expertise and capability that would enable them to accomplish the projects assigned to them in a good and required way. I wish that we could get rid of the corruption and the spoilers, for the success of the revolution of construction and reconstruction that Iraq is going through. The government is working day and night in order to cross them. Some projects are completed in record time and with great and impressive success, in terms of durability, and they contribute to the comfort of the citizen. Others are scheduled to be finished after the period of maintenance again, because of poor performance, and some others still are stopped, owing to delays in contracting. I hope, therefore, to end all the problems that accompany the issue of construction and reconstruction in Iraq, so that things will be very natural and so that the Iraqi street would witness more projects on the ground through the services that will be provided to the people.

  • عمار موسى

    2012-4-24

    What we read is beautiful, yet it is not applied. The days and years are passing by; it has been more than eight years and the city of al-Adhamiyah has not received any support yet. All the shops, streets, alleys and markets, such as the Raghiba Khaton, al-Aيhamiyah and al-Kasrah markets, did not receive any support; they were not even cleaned. All that has been said is only words written on paper, without any implementation. Just words, and how beautiful words are! Your brother Ammar, al-Adhamiyah.

  • شهلة محمد

    2012-4-22

    The existing corruption in the institutions and the ministries is the main cause of the current problems in Iraq and the backwardness as to the construction projects, simply because the concerned departments and ministries are under the leadership of corrupt senior officials unfortunately. Hence, it is sorrowful to say that they manipulate this issue and there is no one to bring them to account. Therefore, Iraq did not witness any major construction project over the past ten years that followed the fall of the regime, because the corruption does not give any chance to the Iraqis to see construction in Iraq, whether in the public institutions or residential complexes. The construction projects are very important and they play a significant role in improving the field of construction in the country, which became very backward. They also support the economy, developed in Iraq, and help us in getting rid of several crises and restoring the investments correctly. However, the corrupt officials are above the law and nothing will deter them from continuing to destroy our country and loot our money as they wish without regret. If we did not eliminate the corruption, it would continue destroying our country and it would reach a stage when it would destroy everything that may help the country move forward or make progress. Corruption will not allow us to reconstruct Iraq and it caused billions of dollars to go to waste rather than being used in the reconstruction of Iraq and rehabilitation of its infrastructure. However, we in fact do not see any progress because the situation is very bad in the construction field.

  • العربي

    2012-4-21

    The Iraqi government has kept Iraq occupied with issues that are not normal, and it is working on stealing from Iraqis heartlessly. It exploits the oil wealth very heavily and sells it to the neighboring countries. It wants to do whatever it wants, including many things and without the knowledge of anyone. The Iraqi government has caused the hunger of the Iraqi people, and they want Iraq, to be specific, only for the purpose of robbing it and looting it. The despicable dog, Al Maliki, has sold the oil of Iraq at excessively high prices, and without giving any Iraqi any rights permanently. But what can we say? God is sufficient for me, and He is the best guardian.