BAGHDAD: 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.

The ceremony 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 included 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 speech.

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. —Text by AFP/Photos by Agencies

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki gives a speech during the opening evening of three days of celebrations to mark Baghdad as this year

Dancers dressed in folkloric costumes perform in a celebration of the Iraqi capital becoming this year's Arab Capital of Culture in Baghdad.

Dancers perform at the al-Khaima theater in Zawraa Park in Baghdad during the opening night of three days of celebrations to mark Baghdad as this year

Iraqi dancers perform at the al-Khaima theater.

Iraqi dancers perform. The Arab Capital of Culture is an initiative by the Arab League under a program set up in 1995 by the Unesco, which aims to highlight the value of Arab civilization and encourage cultural openness in the region.

Dancers in folkloric costumes, reminiscent of the figures on the Ishtar Gate at the ancient city of Babylon.

Iraqis dressed in folkloric costumes perform in a celebration of the Iraqi capital becoming this year's Arab Capital of Culture in Baghdad.

Iraqis dressed in folkloric costumes perform.

Iraqis dressed in folkloric costumes perform in a celebration of the Iraqi capital becoming this year's Arab Capital of Culture in Baghdad.

Iraqis dressed in folkloric costumes perform.

Iraqis dressed in folkloric costumes perform.

Comments (Closed)


Arab
Mar 25, 2013 11:19am
Senselessness to the height, what is this nonsense to do with Arab culture..
Zainab
Mar 25, 2013 01:27pm
I dont see any pakistani dancers in there. Are they part of the arab culture?
danial
Mar 25, 2013 09:35pm
good try...
ali
Mar 26, 2013 04:48am
These Iraqis are slowly bringing some entertainment back to the war affected country and giving its citizens something to enjoy.
Musa Ahmed Bajwa
Mar 26, 2013 02:55pm
Hi :). Pakistanis are not Arabs :)
Zulfiqar
Mar 26, 2013 10:57pm
@ Zainab: Pakistan was colonized for a long time and the Brits removed significant parts of the Islamic Mughal culture of Pakistan. Indians will never get one inch of Pakistan .... dream on. We are charting our own destiny. It is your choice: If you want to be friends, cool. But there is no way we are looking towards India to show us the way ahead; Choose this option and your society will crumble. Best Regards!