Iraq Museum displays the antiquities of Mesopotamia, the birthplace of human civilization. Iraq Museum Baghdad is the most resilient museum in the world. I used the term resilient as it withstood the decades-long war going on in the region. The museum is adorned with relics of the Ancient Mesopotamian civilization. As an archaeology enthusiast, I really loved exploring this museum.
This museum has so much to offer to the world. Sadly, ISIS Daesh played havoc. They ruined and mercilessly looted Iraq’s national treasures. The country’s every resource and the national monuments were severely damaged by the war. After the ouster of Saddam in 2003, Iraq started its journey toward rehabilitation and reconstruction. But in the very same year, Iraq Museum was greatly plundered. Then with the emergence of ISIS, the war against terrorism posed a big challenge to the newly established democratic Iraqi government. But thankfully, with the help of international assistance, the museum was reopened in 2009 for the general public.
Iraq Museum also known as the National Museum of Iraq is situated in the capital city, Baghdad. It’s a city with total traffic chaos. We left our hotel at an early hour in the morning and it took us around 2 hours to reach the museum. There is another museum with the name of Baghdadi Museum and taxi drivers always confuse it with the Iraq museum. So make sure you have the complete address written in Arabic with you to show to the taxi drivers.
Overview of the Museum
The museum has a very impressive building. Which perfectly symbolizes the greatness of the ancient Iraqi civilization. This two-story building is well organized. The artifacts are placed in different halls according to the various periods which they belong to. The halls differentiated as Mesopotamian, Babylonian, Persian, Sumerian, Akkadian, and Assyrian civilizations make this museum easy to navigate. You need to buy a ticket to enter the museum. They charged us 80 dollars as we were a family of 5.
It’s a unique experience. You can actually feel the ancient history by standing there and looking at the artifacts. My daughters were tired of walking around the museum halls as they were so big. Even after skipping a few sections, it took us around 3 hours to explore the museum.
The most impressive hall was of the Assyrian civilization. The gigantic statues were a piece of art. Those huge stone statues showed the marvelous skill of the artisans of chiseled such magnificent mythical deities. The Lamassu, the winged bulls were a treat to see. They stood at one of the many gates along Nineveh’s city walls, as a protective spirit and as a symbol of the power of the Assyrian king. These statues were so elaborately carved in stone. You can actually see each muscle and the veins along the legs of the diety. These giant Lamassu statues impressed me the most.
Ishtar Gate was excavated in 1930, the original one is in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum. A few of its pieces are at the Iraq Museum. Ishtar Gate, the face of the Babylonian era is an exquisite monument. The collection of stone carvings and cuneiform tablets from Uruk is exceptional. The Uruk treasures date between 3500 and 3000 BCE. The museum also has galleries devoted to collections of both pre-Islamic and Islamic Arabian art and artifacts. The museum holds a wealth of the ancient past. The treasures of Nimrud, magnificent figures of the kings carved on the stone slabs, gold jewelry of the queens and princesses, their household items and so much more shows why Mesopotamia was such an impressive civilization. Mesopotamia from the beginning of the written history (c.3100BC) to the fall of Babylon in 539BC dominated the ancient world.
Due to the archaeological riches of Mesopotamia, its collections are considered to be among the most important in the world. I would highly recommend visiting this museum. I enjoyed exploring this museum to the fullest. It was a dream come true.