Fireworks lit up the sky as Baghdad recently celebrated the renovation of Al-Mutanabbi Street, the historic heart of the city’s book trade.
The freshly painted ornate brick facades and wrought-iron balconies were garlanded with fairy lights to welcome visitors to the inaugural festivities. A huge Christmas tree by the Tigris River added to the festive mood along the newly car-free cobblestone road.
“I have always wondered why our historic neighborhoods and streets, like Al-Rasheed and Al-Mutanabbi, are abandoned and ignored,” said Khaldoon Abbas, founder of the Emergency Relief Group, who attended the reopening. “This is an important gesture to encourage a much-needed change, to convey to the world that there is life in Baghdad despite everything.”