Workshop : Towards the Revival of Baghdad’s Historic City Centre (IRAQ)

Baghdad, the city that stunned the world for its design, wealth and culture, faced also enormous challenges since its inception in 762AD. The famous round city in Al Karkh (the west side of the Tigris River) only lasted 183 years before it was destroyed by a major flood in 945AD. However, Baghdad at Rusafa (the east side of the Tigris River) survived more than 24 major floods and suffered the consequences of 12 foreign invasions till early in the 20th century.

The historical city of Baghdad, which is concurrently the urban city centre of Baghdad today, has been under attack due to modernization plans and movements that have disturbed its urban system. Scattered regeneration projects executed during periods of the 20th century damaged the old city, and their socio-economic and cultural results were catastrophic. However, this wave has since receded, and left the historic city centre shattered and decayed. Wars, sanctions and terrorism have also contributed to the destruction of the city as a whole and to its city centre in particular.

Today, the wholesale markets are leading the urban decay process, imposing more changes to the land use and character of the old city. Surveys conducted through the area showed that more than 62% of the buildings classified as “Heritage Buildings” have vanished since the 1980’s.

What are the reasons behind today’s failure and decay of the Historical City Centre?

What does the future hold for Baghdad’s Historical City, and how to stop loss and revive this iconic, yet unfortunate, area?

How can its past be a major part in revitalizing its future?

How can we build a future that brings its generations together to cherish the past and enjoy its glory as a modern city centre, yet with culture and history?

Mr Taghlib Al Waili, architect / planner and author of the award winning book "Baghdad-21 Century: Historic City", will lead the discussion and provide some answers to those questions through reviewing; Baghdad Historical City glorious past, its decayed present, and presents a vision for a prosperous future of the area.

This workshop is part of a series of events and workshops organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq, the Al-Kindi Society of Engineers and TURATH Baghdad during the London Festival of Architecture.

The gallery is open from the 25th to the 29th June from 9am till 5pm and is open to members of the public, with a ribbon cutting reception being held on the 27th June from 6pm till 9pm.