Unexpected rainfall revives Iraq’s historic marshlands; Raya Jalabi; Reuters

This time last year, most of Iraq’s historic marshlands were dry, desiccated by upstream damming and a chronic lack of rainfall.

Source: Unexpected rainfall revives Iraq’s historic marshlands

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7 fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Matt Davis; Big Think

Here are 7 often-overlooked World Heritage Sites, each with its own history.

Source: 7 fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Iraq’s ancient city of Ur: source of law, site of wonder; Marta Bellingreri; Al Monitor

Tourists are slowly beginning to return to the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, raising hopes among some locals.

Source: Iraq’s ancient city of Ur: source of law, site of wonder

Can Iraq beat the drought and become the breadbasket of the Middle East again?; Kieran Cooke; Middle East Eye

Despite an environmental crisis, award-winning expert Azzam Alwash believes that Iraq can revive its agriculture

Source: Can Iraq beat the drought and become the breadbasket of the Middle East again?

The Iraqi marshes: More than three decades of man-made ecological disaster; Sylvain Mercadier; Al Araby

Source: The Iraqi marshes: More than three decades of man-made ecological disaster

Lack of revitalization budget puts historic Erbil Citadel at risk of collapse, official warns; Sangar Ali; Kurdistan 24

The Erbil Citadel is under the risk of collapse due to a lack of budget for rehabilitation as well as heavy rains that have recently damaged the monument.

Source: Lack of revitalization budget puts historic Erbil Citadel at risk of collapse, official warns

A palace-city in Iraq produced its own ornamental glass a thousand years ago; Elena Motivans; ZME Science

They were clearly skilled glass-makers.

Source: A palace-city in Iraq produced its own ornamental glass a thousand years ago

Public enemy or savior? An Iraqi city could reveal the true Moqtada al-Sadr; Tamer El-Ghobashy & Mustafa Salim; Washington Post

The maverick cleric’s surprising election victory prompted this question in Baghdad, Washington and Tehran: Who is the real Moqtada al-Sadr?

Source: Public enemy or savior? An Iraqi city could reveal the true Moqtada al-Sadr

Will Great Mosque of Samarra and its minaret survive?; Adnan Abu Zeed; Al-Monitor

Iraq – Samarra Archaeological City

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.

Source: Will Great Mosque of Samarra and its minaret survive?

Iraq’s vast marshes, reborn after Saddam, are in peril again; AP

Iraq – The Ahwar of Southern Iraq: Refuge of Biodiversity and the Relict Landscape of the Mesopotamian Cities

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.

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