Basra is a city in the south of Iraq. It is located on the Shatt el Arab about 100 kilometers away from its mouth into the Persian Gulf and is the most important port city in the country.
Basra was founded in 636 AD by Caliph Umar ibn Chatab as an important trading center. At the same time, it served as a base to repel the attacks of the Sassanid Empire. The base can still be seen today outside the city in the form of a hill. Basra was a thriving commercial center under the Umayyads and Abbasids. It lost its importance under the Ottomans.
The “Venice of the Middle East” is decaying. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the Ottoman rulers had built a network of canals in the Iraqi city of Basra. The waterways that meandered between clay and wooden houses with their characteristic colorful window panes made the city famous far beyond the borders of Iraq.
Today, these channels are a danger to health. Plastic bottles and garbage of all kinds float on the surface of the water.
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