Baghdad Inaugurated as Arab
Capital of Culture
Once capital of Abbasid
Baghdad was inaugurated as the 2013 Arab Capital
of Culture on Saturday, the latest in a series of steps which officials hope
will put Iraq back on the map after decades of conflict.
marking the event was held under a massive tent in the Iraqi capital's Zawraa
Park, and featured a choir singing songs and a performance by renowned Iraqi
musician Naseer Shamma, as well as speeches by senior Iraqi politicians and Arab
League chief Nabil al-Arabi.
The events surrounding the Arab Capital of
Culture will include music and dance performances, photography exhibitions, as
well as folk arts and crafts shows.
"Baghdad, which was a source of
knowledge for the entire world, is rising again today thanks to the efforts of
Iraqis and their Arab brothers," Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in a
It is the latest in a series of efforts by Iraq to raise its
global profile after three decades of war and sanctions which led to its
international isolation, economically as well as culturally.
hosted the Arab League summit in 2012, and later that year was the site of talks
between global powers and Iran on the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear
It is also scheduled to host football's Gulf Cup in
Iraq's efforts have not gone off without a hitch,
It had been scheduled to host the Gulf Cup this year but it was
delayed, and ambitious plans for the Shiite shrine city of Najaf to take over as
the 2012 Islamic Capital of Culture were shelved as several projects failed to
get off the ground or were postponed indefinitely amid accusations of