Visiting the Al Shaheed Monument Baghdad
Constructed between 1981 and 1983 during the height of the Iran-Iraq War, it was unveiled as a memorial to the fallen soldiers of that war.
Alongside the Monument to the Unknown Soldier and the Victory Arch, It was one of a number of Saddam’s public works projects to beautify Baghdad in the 1980s.
The Al-Shaheed Monument was designed by Iraqi sculptor, Ismail Fatah Al Turk & architect Saman Kamal. It consists of a 132-foot tall arabesque/Abbasid dome, covered in teal-colored ceramic tiles. The dome is divided in half down the center, with the two halves hollowed out and offset from each other. One half shelters a circular pool, while the other protects an Iraqi flag & eternal flame dedicated to the martyrs of the war.
It has since gone on to become a memorial for all fallen Iraqis in all wars.
Beneath the monument lies a museum, library, gallery, lecture hall and other facilities. The surrounding areas house parks, playgrounds, walkways, bridges and a man made central lake surrounding the complex.
The Al-Shaheed Monument Today
Today this graceful structure exudes a beauty that belies the turmoil of its birth. The war that it originally represented was waged over the greed of a dictator that ended in the needless loss of countless lives on both sides. The monument was built at great expense during this pointless war.
Many see it as a troubling artifact representing a despot’s rule, but it is hard to deny that it is a stunning piece of architecture.