Skip to main content

Baghdad's monuments fall apart or destroyed despite laws

Laws cannot protect Baghdad's monumental buildings, particularly when owners prefer that they fall down so they can replace them with modern buildings.

BAGHDAD — Khan Murjan, built in 1358 by Amin al-Din Murjan al-Alkhani, has been used for many purposes in its long life. Initially a caravanserai, or inn for travelers, this magnificent example of 14th-century architecture consists of large, high-ceilinged rooms on two stories around a closed paved courtyard. The building was first turned into a museum in 1935, then closed down. In 2003, it was reopened as a luxury restaurant, with traditional music playing.

But this treasured historical heritage is far from being well-kept. Its southern courtyard was filled with sewage for months recently until finally the local authorities repaired a broken pipe. But the whole water and sewage system needs an overhaul to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.