This time last year, most of Iraq’s historic marshlands were dry, desiccated by upstream damming and a chronic lack of rainfall.
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The 1,200-year-old minaret of the Great Mosque in Samarra is in dire need of restoration, which the Iraqi authorities and UNESCO have started working on.
The Malwiya Minaret, an impressive tower at a height of 52 meters (171 feet) with a spiral ramp, still recalls the past glory of the Great Mosque of Samarra, which had been the largest mosque in the world during the Abbasid Caliphate.
However, the spiraling structure of more than a thousand years now runs the risk of crumbling because of the many attacks it has suffered, according to Iraqi media reports.
Its external stairway is unstable, with some stones missing, and the minaret has shaky walls that have the names of visitors carved into them. There is no security at the site, and a young man fell from the minaret and died on March 29, 2017, after having attempted to climb it.
Malwiya is known for its spiraling structure; it does not look like any other minaret in the world. It is one of the many historical landmarks of Samarra, which was put on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2007.
CHABAISH, Iraq (AP) – In the southern marshlands of Iraq, Firas Fadl steers his boat through tunnels of towering reeds, past floating villages and half-submerged water buffaloes in a unique region that seems a world apart from the rest of the arid Middle East.
The marshes, a lush remnant of the cradle of civilization , were reborn after the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein when residents dismantled dams he had built a decade earlier to drain the area in order root out Shiite rebels. But now the largest wetlands in the Middle East are imperiled again, by government mismanagement and new upstream projects.