Iraq is well renowned for its rich maqam history, which has been handed down orally down the generations by maqam masters in an unbroken line of transmission. The maqam al-Iraqi is regarded as the highest and most flawless type of maqam. The collection of sung poetry al-maqam al-Iraqi is composed in one of the sixteen meters of classical Arabic or in Iraqi dialect (Zuhayri). UNESCO has designated this kind of art as “humanity’s intangible heritage.”
Many of Iraq’s most famous musicians were Jewish in the early twentieth century. With the exception of the percussionist, Iraq Radio was founded in 1936 with an ensemble made up exclusively of Jews. Ensembles comprising oud, qanun, and two percussionists performed in Baghdad nightclubs, while the radio broadcasted the same style with a ney and cello.
Salima Pasha, a Jew, was arguably the most renowned vocalist of the 1930s and 1940s (later Salima Murad). Pasha’s love and respect were uncommon at the period, since public performances by women were frowned upon, and the majority of female singers were recruited from brothels.
Ezra Aharon, an oud musician, was Iraq’s most renowned early composer, while Daoud Al-Kuwaiti was the most notable instrumentalist. Daoud and his brother Saleh created the official ensemble for the Iraqi radio station, and they were the ones who introduced the cello and the ney into the traditional ensemble.
Art and architecture
The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, whose preparations and concerts were temporarily disrupted during the Occupation of Iraq but have since resumed, is one of the city’s most important cultural organizations. The Iraqi National Theatre was stolen during the 2003 invasion, but restoration works are ongoing. During the 1990s, when UN sanctions restricted the import of foreign films, the live theatrical industry flourished. According to reports, up to 30 theaters have been transformed into live stages, with a variety of comedy and serious plays on offer.
Baghdad’s cultural institutions include the Academy of Music, the Institute of Fine Arts, and the Baghdad Music and Ballet School. Baghdad also has many museums, notably the National Museum of Iraq, which contains the world’s biggest and best collection of antiquities and artifacts from ancient Iraqi civilisations, some of which were taken during the Iraqi occupation.
The Medes captured Ninus or Nineveh under Cyaxares, and the place was reduced to mounds of dirt some 200 years after Xenophon walked through it. It remained buried until Botta and Layard found the Assyrian towns’ remains in 1845. The most important ruins are those of Khorsabad, 16 kilometers (10 miles) northeast of Mosul; Nimroud, which is thought to be the old Calah; and Kouyunjik, which is most likely the ancient Nineveh. Fragments of numerous large structures, which seem to have been palace-temples, have been discovered in these cities. They were mostly made of sun-dried bricks, and all that survives are the lower parts of the walls, which are embellished with sculpture and paintings, pieces of the pavements, a few height markers, and some noteworthy drainage works.
Following the collapse of complete state control in 2003, Iraq’s broadcast industry had a period of tremendous development. The prohibition on satellite dishes was lifted immediately, and by mid-2003, according to a BBC report, Iraqis owned and managed 20 radio stations ranging from 0.15 to 17 television stations, as well as 200 Iraqi publications. Significantly, the number of these publications has been disproportionate to the population of the areas where they were published. For example, more than 30 newspapers are produced and delivered in Najaf, which has a population of 300,000.
Ibrahim Al Marashi, an Iraqi media specialist and author of many studies on the topic, cites four phases of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, during which the US took actions that have had major consequences for the Iraqi media since then. Pre-invasion planning, the war and actual target selection, the initial post-war period, a rising insurgency, and handover of authority to the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) and Prime Minister Iyad Allawi are the stages.
Iraqi cuisine has a lengthy history, dating back to the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Ancient Persians over 10,000 years. Tablets discovered in Iraqi ruins reveal recipes produced in temples during religious festivals – the world’s earliest cookbooks. In many areas of knowledge, including the culinary arts, ancient Iraq, or Mesopotamia, was home to numerous complex and highly evolved civilisations. The Iraqi kitchen, however, reached its pinnacle during the medieval period, when Baghdad was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Today, Iraqi cuisine reflects this rich heritage, as well as significant influences from neighboring Turkey, Iran, and the Greater Syria region’s culinary traditions.
In Iraq, football is the most popular sport. Following years of conflict and turmoil, football has become a significant unifying force in Iraq. Basketball, swimming, weightlifting, bodybuilding, boxing, kickboxing, and tennis are all prominent sports in the United States.
The Iraqi Football Association is the country’s governing organization, in charge of the Iraqi National Team and the Iraqi Premier League (also known as Dawri Al-Nokba). It was established in 1948 and has been a FIFA member since 1950, as well as a member of the Asian Football Confederation since 1971. Al Shorta, Iraq’s most successful club, won back-to-back league championships in 2013 and 2014 and was the first team to win the Arab Champions League. The Iraqi National Football Team won the 2007 AFC Asian Cup after beating Saudi Arabia in the final 1-0 due to captain Younis Mahmoud’s goal, and they have competed in two FIFA tournaments (the 1986 FIFA World Cup and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup).