The Iraqi Museum is dedicated to the history of Iraq and the peoples that have inhabited its territory throughout the centuries. The collections include Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian artefacts dated back as far as 7,000 years, although, unfortunately, many were lost during the looting that took place during the early days of the war in 2003.
Located in the Great Celebration square, this imposing monument represents a traditional Iraqi shield (called a dira'a) being dropped by the loosening hand of a dying soldier, and it is meant to commemorate all the men who fought and died for their country in the Iran-Iraq war.
The Swords of Qadissyah, also known as Victory Arch or Hands of Victory, is one of Baghdad's more bizarre monuments, consisting statues of two hands holding swords that join above the road. They mark the entrance to Great Celebrations square, which celebrates Iraq's victory in the Iran-Iraq war.
Described as the Iraqi "Madam Tussaud's", the Baghdadi Museum's wax sculptures eternalize not the modern-day movie stars but average Baghdadi residents going about their lives during mid-20th century. The museum is a family-friendly place to learn about local folklore and past lifestyles.
Saj Al-Reef, as the name reflects, uses Saj (a bread-type dough placed on a domed metal griddle and baked over a wood fire) as a main ingredient in many of its dishes, being a healthier alternative to regular bread. Over time other influences have been adopted and the menu now includes Saj sandwiches, Mexican dishes, Indian and other ethnic foods.
Samad Restaurant is a local favourite, its throngs of loyal patrons flooding their four locations daily and warranting the opening of a new location in Dubai. The menu consists of oriental, Iraqi, Kurdish and Western cuisines. The prices might be higher than most other options in the area, but they merely reflect the quality of the food.
Aroma Restaurant is well-known for its breakfast buffets, which have a wide selection of food, and its fantastic fruit juices, which should not be missed. Lunch and dinner options include Italian and Middle Eastern dishes, as well as prime steaks. The restaurant itself is classy and clean and the staff is professional.
Mazaya stands out for the huge diversity of its menu. Options include everything from European cuisine and classic Italian favourites like pizza and pasta to Chinese and Middle Eastern dishes, specializing in Iraqi and Lebanese food. Whatever mood you're in, you are sure to find something at Mazaya.
Most of Baghdad's traditional marketplaces are to be found off Rashid Street, in the area between Shuhada and Ahrar Bridges. Stroll through the Coppersmith Souq to marvel at ornate copper pots of all shapes and sizes, and stop by the busy marketplace of Shorjah on the other side of Rashid Street to savor the air of a traditional Oriental bazaar.
Mansour Mall is the first one of its kind in Iraq, and is easily comparable to its multiple shiny look-alikes all over the globe. Inside, shoppers will find international brand boutiques, a food court, a 5D cinema and children entertainment areas. Avoid rush hours to miss the crowds.
Maximall is something of a large department store chain, with several locations around the city. Selling primarily shoes and clothing by brands lesser-known internationally, the stores are clean and staffed by helpful shop assistants. There is normally a food court in the top floor.
The Baghdad International Airport is located 16km away from downtown Baghdad. It is the country's largest air hub, and home base for the national airline (Iraqi Airways). Connections are available to destinations worldwide. Unless a private transfer has been pre-arranged, the only way of getting to the city/International Zone is by taxi (available at the airport).
Transportation within Baghdad is mostly pre-arranged; main means of transport for visitors include helicopters and armored cars/buses. There is a functioning metro in Baghdad and a public bus system (these are, however, unreliable and not recommended for use during short trips to the area).
Individual travelers are advised to arrange transportation within Baghdad prior to arrival. Taxi services are available at the airport, and shared taxis can be hired around the city. If you opt for using one of these options, agree on the price beforehand, even if there is a metre running.
While in many respects the situation in Baghdad is steadily improving, the city's dangers should under no circumstances be underestimated. Kidnappings and terrorist attacks (particularly car-bombs and improvised explosive devices) are real threats, as ISIS retains control of nearby territories, as of the date of research. Marketplaces are often targeted and are thus especially dangerous. For these reasons many governments warn their citizens to avoid all but essential travel to Baghdad. Every precaution should be taken to remain safe during your time in the city.