Baghdad's Qishla tells story of modern Iraq

Baghdad's Qishla tells story of modern Iraq

2019/01/22 | 00:05 - Source: Baghdad Post

(ThisDay | Iraq News Now)- Built by the Ottoman Wali (ruler) in

1869, the Qishla Tower stands 23 meters tall on the bank of the River Tigris in

central Baghdad.

In 1927, the tower was fitted with a clock, a gift from King

George V to King Faisal I of Iraq.This landmark stands in the park of the Serail, the seat of government from 1851 to 1989 when Iraq was under Ottoman rule and then British

rule, then independence came under the monarchy, and the landmark has since survived the

political turmoil and conflict.

Today, it is a monument surrounded by palm

trees and lush green lawns where school children stroll or play, and residents

pose for pictures and watch the sun turn the river into a giant mirror.

Cultural preservation

specialists have been brought in by the United Nations to evaluate and discuss

options for rehabilitating Kirkuk’s Qishla and Citadel – two important heritage

sites in the heart of the ethnically diverse city.The Qishla, built in 1863 as an Ottoman era army garrison used during the winter months, lies “in a state of near collapse today,” the

United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said.The oldest part of Kirkuk – the historic Citadel – was built

in 884 BC, standing atop an artificial mound 130 feet high.

With towers added

later, along with a 1,000-year old minaret and the Red Church, the modern city

eventually grew around it.Iyad Tariq, director-general of the Iraqi Department for

Culture and Antiquities, grew up near the Citadel.

He says it was once home to

850 families, a church, two mosques, minarets, a school, restaurants and cafes,

monuments, and a bustling market.“With support from UNESCO and the international community,

the Citadel can be restored to its former glory,” said Tariq.“The Citadel exemplifies the multi-cultural society of

Kirkuk,” said Martijn Dalhuijsen, head of the UN Development Coordination

office in Kirkuk.It

contains Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Arabic, Seljuk, Turkmen, and Turkish

traces.On November 5, Alice Walpole, the UN secretary-general’s

deputy special representative for Iraq, led a delegation of UNESCO, UNAMI, and

UN Development Coordination Office officials into Kirkuk to assess the two

historical structures and discuss options for restoration.Prior to the initial assessment, meetings were held regarding

UN support for preserving cultural heritage sites.UNESCO architect Giovanni Fontana, who specializes in

historic preservation, and Cultural Programme Officer Sami Al-Khoja, who was

part of the restoration team for the Erbil Citadel, took part in the meetings.Rakan al-Jabouri, the acting Kirkuk governor, and Colonel

Wisam Abdullah, from Kirkuk’s Antiquities Police, also joined the assessment

visit.“It would be a valuable symbol of reconciliation and recovery

to restore in the heart of the diverse city of Kirkuk,” Dalhuijsen said.


restoration process would also provide much needed job opportunities for

construction workers, craftsmen and artisans, he added. Restoration could also encourage tourism and religious pilgrimages while instilling a sense of pride for Kirkuk residents, the UN official added.

Read all text from Baghdad Post

Sponsored Links