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Treasures of Iraq

From Baghdad and Babylon, breathtaking photos of architecture in Iraq

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Al Kadhimain Mosque in Baghdad

Elaborate tiles cover the Al Kadhimain Mosque in Baghdad, Iraq. Photo © 2003 Jan Oberg

http://www.transnational.org Stone palace of Saddam Hussein south of Baghdad, Iraq is now a hotel

Saddam Hussein's former palace, 50 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, became a hotel in 2009

http://www.transnational.org Nebuchadnezzar palace reconstruction, Babylon, 1997

The reconstructed palace of Nebuchadnezzar sits in the ancient city of Babylon May 2, 1997 in Iraq.

Photo by Scott Peterson/Liaison, 1997, Getty Images

Nestled between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates (Dijla and Furat in Arabic), modern Iraq lies on fertile land that includes ancient Mesopotamia. Long before the great civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, advanced cultures flourished in the Mesopotamian plain. Cobblestone streets, city building, and architecture itself have their beginnings in Mesopotamia. Indeed, some archaeologists believe that this region is the site of the Biblical Garden of Eden.

Because it lies at the cradle of civilization, the Mesopotamian plain contains archaeological and architectural treasures that date back to the beginning of human history. In the busy city of Baghdad, exquisite medieval buildings tell the stories of many different cultures and religious traditions.

In recent years, the architectural treasures of Iraq were jeopardized by war. Military facilities were often placed dangerously close to great structures and important artifacts, making them vulnerable to blasts. Also, many monuments suffered due to looting and neglect.

Whether or not the war in Iraq could be justified, there is no doubt that the country holds priceless architecture that must be preserved. Follow the links below for photos from Baghdad and Babylon.

PHOTO GALLERY: ARCHITECTURE IN IRAQ

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