Visiting the Al Shaheed Monument Baghdad
The Al Shaheed Monument, Baghdad has fast become one of our most favorite Baghdad landmarks. What exactly is it and what does it represent?
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.