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Iraqi artists transform derelict tobacco factory into culture hub

The sprawling grounds of Sulaimaniyah's old tobacco factory are finding a second life as an arts center, although financial and bureaucratic obstacles have greatly hindered its progress.
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Sulaimaniyah is considered the cultural capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan region. It was there that celebrated poets such as Nali and Salim wrote in the Sorani dialect of Kurdish in the early 19th century. It is one of the most liberal cities in the country, boasting music halls, bookstores, historic tea houses and public parks with busts of popular authors.

By the end of the summer, the city will unveil a new cultural and art space in the historical tobacco factory, a huge derelict industrial complex that looms over central Salim Street, one of the city’s main arteries.

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