Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Historical Features of the Tigris River in Baghdad Rusafa, which extends from the school Al-Mustansiriya to the Abbasid Palace

Date of Submission: 28/03/2014
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iv)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Department of Heritage
State, Province or Region:
Governorate of Baghdad
Ref.: 5880

The Tentative Lists of States Parties are published by the World Heritage Centre at its website and/or in working documents in order to ensure transparency, access to information and to facilitate harmonization of Tentative Lists at regional and thematic levels.

The sole responsibility for the content of each Tentative List lies with the State Party concerned. The publication of the Tentative Lists does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the World Heritage Committee or of the World Heritage Centre or of the Secretariat of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.

Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


The property is located in Rusafa side of the capital, Baghdad, and occupies an important and vital role on the eastern side of the Tigris river and extends about (7.57) hectares. Baghdadgot advantage the Tigris River penetrate geographical area and its impacto n the natural environment and urban and social since its establishment in the second century AH eighth AD at the hands of its founder, the Abbasid Caliph Abu Jafar al-Mansur (136-158) AH, and so far, and  the banks of the river is considered the right place for the growth of urban communities (as points of attraction for many of the activities), which its image differedand changed according to the requirements and conditions of each era. The property has been selected for containin gold urban blocks of historical characteristics played an important and prominent role in the ancient Iraq 's political and religious history, particularly in the Abbasid era during the sixteenth and seventeenth AH / twelfth and thirteenth century AD and the period of Ottoman occupation through three centuries of a thousand eleventh and thirteenth AH /seventeenth and eighteenth century AD, and some of which still leads its job such as mosques and turning some others by the time in modern times to important cultural and tourist shrines on the banks of the river. The property includes buildings classified mostly as a national heritage and as the effect of the duty of protection under the Iraqi Antiquities Law No. 36 for the year 1924. No. 55 and published in the Official Gazette in Iraq.

The following buildings of the property by the sequence pillar of its geographical location with historical periods reflected by the architecture in Baghdad:

- AL- Mustansiriya School / Architecture of Abbasid period in the seventh century of migration.

- Alasifyah mosque/ Architecture period of Ottoman occupation in the first century.

- AL-Wazeer Mosque /  Architecture  period of Ottoman occupation in second century A H Arashdiya  military yard secondary military school  / Architecture period of Ottoman occupation in the third century A. H.

- The old building of ASaray complex: / Architecture period of Ottoman occupation in second century A H

*TheBuilding of AL- Qishleh and the clock tower.

* The old building of the Council of Ministers.

* Gateway of As-saray and building thereto.

* Building of the old General Police.

* Governor House (Dar Al-Wali).

- Bait Al-Hikma   (Al-Aliya school) / Architecture period of Ottoman occupation in the second century A. H.

- Abbasid palace (ASharabeyaschool) Architecture of the Abbasid era A.H.In the sixth and seventh century  A.H.

Al-Mustansiriya school building: The school of Al-Mustansiriya created in 625 AH / (1227) AD, at the hands of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mustansir (623 AH - 640 AH / 1226 AD -1242 AD) on the eastern side of Baghdad, on the bank of the Tigris River considers the oldest universities in the Arab and Muslim universities that has taught Islamic jurisprudence according to the four schools. In terms of planning and architecture, Mustansiriya buildings of the vast area surrounded by rooms and Ewan represent an integrated system followed in the construction of many schools later, either in terms of decoration and Riyazh and architectural elements. It is indicative of the extent of the system and artistic flair high and development architect, which reached perfection of construction at the time stemming from a deep understanding of the surrounding environment and natural resources available and employed to meet the needs of humanity.

Alasifyah Mosque: The current mosque was built by the Ottoman governor Daoud Pasha in 1825. The whole area is 400 m2 and accommodates 500 worshipers. It has combined the large oratory by two domes and built at its sides two minarets. Renewedin year 1384 AH / 1964 AD by the Department of Awqaf and still held a prayer in addition to festivals and religious events and Koran courses.

Al-wazir Mosque (The minister mosque): This mosque was built by Walli of Baghdad the minister Hassan Pasha, who took over the mandate of Baghdad (1003-1012 AH / 1594-1603 AD).The mosque has witnessed since its construction in 1008 AH / 1599 AD restoration and reconstruction work. Where the minister (Hassan Pasha) reconstruction of what might demolish the mosque during his reign (1052-1054 AH / 1642-1644 AD). An army officer named Ahmed Agha has ordered to rebuild the western side of the mosque and the high dome built upon and expanded it in (1089 AH / 1686 AD) and renewed inclusive architecture in the new era of Hassan Pasha, who ruled from the period (116 AH / 1136AD). Finally, the Ministry of Awqaf built it after injury and demolish under the supervision of Antiquities and heritage to take the approach of what it is now.

AL-Arashdiya military school building (the old courts): It was the first of the schools held in Iraq during the Ottoman era year 1287 AH / 187 AH in reign of the governor Medhat Pasha. But it was completed in time Marshal Fawzi Year 1296 AH. The school building is occupied a piece of land is rectangular in shape measured (76 m × 58 m), consists of two floors. The architecture of the property represents a transition period from basement architecture in the Ottoman period and vaulted by wood to iron bridges in the early period of the British occupation.

The old ASaray buildings complex:

Al-Qushla Building: The Qishleh building is one of a series of historical heritage buildings along the bank of the Tigris River. Architecture of the building affected during periods of Ottoman rule and the British occupation (1914 - 1958 AD) in Iraq and illustrated by the additions to the building, materials, construction & roofing techniques used forefront of landmarks that reflect the emergence of a renaissance and civilization of society and reflect identity of Iraqi Baghdadi. This building possesses a group of constituents, including jobs carried out and events witnessed and geographical location and the way built it all paid off protection and maintenance.

Tower and clock of Al- Qishleh: The beautiful clock of Al- Qishleh with its slim tower was built after building Al-Qishleh. The military barracks of the Ottomans in the time of the Ottoman governor (Namik Basha), completed during the reign of (Medhat Pasha) (1868 AD) to wake the soldiers to the times military training. The clock of Qishleh was a wonder, the Baghdadis did not see clock placed above this altitude and beacon four aspects. At the peak indicator of iron shows the direction of the wind. It is important to note here that the clock has been donated by the king of Britain's George V to the Iraqi government. This gifting written inside.

ASaray Gateway (Ewan ASaray) and the building thereto: This building features that depend on the facade of successive arcs and side fillings and the surrounding frame, which is an extension of the prevailing models in building gates of Baghdad in the Abbasid era, such as the school gate of Al-Mustansiriya and Al–Marjaniya and the Abbasid palace. The Ewan is of Iraqi models for suitability atmosphere of Iraq, which is similar to Ewan Dar Koran in school Mustansiriya and Ewan Abbasid palace, but differs by inlaying with copper, also above the Dome of the gate a small dome to bring light, this bricks decorations and stalactites prominent and manipulation and the play to put bricks to create geometric shapes is a tradition that was common in the Abbasid era.

The old building of the Council of Ministers: The building dates back to the period of the British occupation and the monarchy in Iraq, 1921 - the building is rectangular in shape of two floors mediating an open courtyard surrounded by rooms and halls, in this building effects of the Arab - Islamic architecture is evident by using arches and domes in the four corners of the building from the inside on the ground floor and the effects of building of the British occupation using iron roofing with bricks in the rooms and halls in the two floors.

Al-Wali House (Ministry of  knowledge): The area of land on which constructed about 1000 m2. This construction was built in the first half of the sixteenth century, during the Ottoman rule of Iraq, and was the residence of the governor and his followers. It is one of the heritage buildings with architectural characteristics in square shape of two floors in the middle an open garden surrounded by halls and rooms of different areas on the floor ground and first floor contains a portico based on wooden poles overlooking the garden moderation. It is evident in the building effects of architecture of the British occupation through style roofing iron and bricks along with the remnants of the effects of Arab architecture of two small domes in one of the large halls of the building.

Industries School (House of Wisdom): Industries school (Al-Sanai school) constructed on the orders of the governor Med hat Pasha in the position of school building AL-alia (established by the governor Ali Pasha Katakhda1176/ 1762). It is a rectangular building of two stores measuring 64 m × 29 m. Entrance occupies the southern facade and leads to space vaulted dome hemispherical, the building includes rooms and halls with arches semi-circular overlooking the corridors is based on the columns and vaults semi-circular open to the gardens confined between parts of the building. The school building still stands tall in order to play its scientific role through the ages.

Abbasid palace: It is one of the important archaeological buildings in Baghdad, in the second Abbasid era. The researchers attributed its built to Khalifa Al-Nasser Le Deen Allah (575-623 AH / 1179-1225 AD), known in Dar Almsnah is like a science House. And the Palace Musnah built of brick and lime on the Tigris River which is an extension to the school Al-Mustansiriya school .The decorations of the Abbasid palace remaining distinct from other Arab decorations.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

- The property is characterized by being reflects the style of Arab Islamic original civilization dating back to Abbasid era through the two centuries (the sixth and seventh A.H.) and a period of three centuries of Ottoman occupation (from    the eleventh century to the thirteenth century immigration) was and still impacts continuing so far in the pattern of religious andlearning buildings and schools.

- The engineering architecture enriching the history of the property represented by the pattern of distinct and prominent design and planning, construction and decoration and Riyazh drilling on bricks and the use of architectural elements such as arcs and domes and Ewan in  different patterns and employing them in buildings as elements of major construction environmental and aesthetic in mosques and religious and military schools  , gates and palaces and the houses  of governors which proves the developing of architecture with architect at the time as well as the ability to adapt  resources and raw materials that are available within the environment surrounding to be used in various artistic and decorative forms and patterns and great aesthetic imparted to the visual landscape of the building .

- The model of the Building the property  represents a homogeneous mixture of architecture that carry attributes successive periods of the history of Baghdad , and Iraq, in the Abbasid periods and the Ottoman and the British occupation  representing historical and geographical entity along Tigris River reflecting the changes in the political climate and the environmental and cultural heritage over time and an important periods of Iraq Which confirms the importance of the site and the strategy and the aesthetic was the focus of attention of the Abbasid caliphs and the Ottoman rulers and politicians ruled Iraq since become the property in each of those historical periods and administrative center of Iraq 's political.

- Attention continued  during the eighties and nineties  of the last century by responsible officials of the modern era and sought to harmonize and with civilizations and ancient cultures occupied buildings of ASaray  by the Department of Antiquities and the Museum of the reconstruction of Iraq after the Gulf War. and there was a project for occupancy by the Ministry of Culture was launched in late 2001 and is not performed because of the war in Iraq, in 2003 and still enjoys these buildings attentively officials in the state and the governorate, and there are plans in-coordination with State Board of Antiquities and Heritage to exploit Cultural and artistic and tourism.

Criterio (i): The property includes buildings represent one of the masterpieces of the artist and architect of the old Iraqi creator(in the sixth and seventh century of A.H.) in the field of designing and ornamentation on bricks decorating walls and ewan, entrances, vaults, domes and façade.

Criterion (ii): The property includes buildings geometries and designs represent an evident in the concepts of architecture and traditional construction methods to reach advanced stages of functional efficiency and social climate as a result of the growth and prosperity of the arts and sciences in the Abbasid era and exchange cultural and civilization in the period of the occupation of the Ottoman and British occupation. The optical scene of the property embodies the material adaption with environmental resources available and expresses the appropriate planning and design of building property with natural conditions and environmental variables and the river with employing architectural elements and art for the purposes of construction, environmental and aesthetic. But its effects are still ongoing in the religious and educational buildings to the present time. In addition to the evolution of the concept of the establishment of the Almsnah along the River for the purposes of protection buildings fromthe risk of flooding of the Tigris River and as a path way for the passengers and move between buildings, and this is considered development in the architecture of the riverbanks.

Criterion (iv): Buildings of the property considered an outstanding example of construction style in the important phase in the history of Iraq in particular and the Muslim world in general, and reflects the architectural and cultural traditions of ancient Mesopotamia since the sixth century AH to the thirteenth century.

Criterion (vi): The history of the property and its location is associated with historical events of the old capital Baghdad  and rich in its  buildings ,science ,culture and arts ( it is mentioned in  books and ancient manuscripts and said travelers in their writings that have reached us ) and which has long inspired artists , poets and writers who participated in writing stories of imagination and magic on Baghdad, the capital  of Haroon ARrasheed the caliph and the city of peace and  thousand and one nights and helped the spread across and around the world.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

Buildings of the property and environmental surroundings are considered evidence of the changes that have hit the urban fabric of the site property as a result of natural group interventions (related to climatic and environmental factors and the high of the underground water levels and change the level of the river).

And anthropogenic interference (efforts concerning  maintenance of the property or tampering , vandalism and theft ), but still the property reflects the nobility and his conversion to Islam in terms of location , materials and plan , and features  and architectural and decorative  prominent  elements and parts  intact thereof  And still retain ALMustasyriah school and Abbasid palace its authenticity  .It was built  from  bricks and lime and extended along the shore of the Tigris and adjacent to the school Mustansiriya and Abbasid Palace its originality was built  of thick bricks used it as a way in addition to protect the building from flooding of the Tigris and currently buried under Almsnah new of the River banks so, it cannot be seen - as indicated it in the  reports of  excavators in this area.

- In addition to retaining the authenticity of the old building to the right of the entrance gate of the ASaray palace dating back to the period of the Ottoman occupation and the architectural elements genuine such as pillars and arcs     domes and vaults were not carried out by the maintenance and restoration, which currently need to consolidate and outsource maintenance.

- And still the property retains its elements distinctive and necessary for the expression of the outstanding universal value in terms of substance, space and planning without any new additions features original.

- As a result of maintenance work and repairs carried out through several stages and during many years by the State board Antiquities and heritage and Awqaf Ministry under the supervision of the State Board, they stopped the deterioration and corrosion and cracking suffered by the property, but still the physical infrastructure and the important features of the property in good condition.

Comparison with other similar properties

Baghdad is one of the major political and cultural centres of the ancient world like other ancient cities in Mesopotamia and the Middle East, such as the city of Ashur, a World Heritage Site Listed on the World Heritage List in 2003 according to the criteria iii and iv.

The city of ancient Ashur is located on the banks of the Tigris River north of Mesopotamia in a geographical area with distinct environmental characteristics. The city has arisen in the third millennium BC. The most important period was between the fourteenth and nineteenth century BC. As the first capital of the Assyrian empire, the city became an international and commercial centre.

It was also the religious capital of the Assyrians, in honour of the God Ashur. In addition, it was a place for the coronation and burial of kings. Then the Babylonians destroyed the city, but it rose from the ashes in the Parthian era in the first and second centuries BC.

The relics unearthed from public and residential buildings in Assyria offers a full record about the development in construction methods in the period of the Sumerian, Acadian and Parthian through the Assyrian Empire. Moreover, you can see the evolution of Paris and its history through the River Seine. Where on the banks of it shines a series of masterpieces Paris is a city of the river. The historical city that exists today which has developed between the sixteenth (especially the seventeenth) and twenties reflects evolution of the relationship between the river and the people: defence, trade and hiking on the banks. It is an outstanding example of urban architecture on the banks of the river, where the historical periods vary next to each other.

Another example to compare with is the city of Budapest on the banks of the Danube River. This site maintained relics that highly influenced the architecture in several periods, Such as the relics of the Romanian city of Aquincum and the Gothic Palace of Buda - one of the most beautiful urban landscapes in the world - indicates to a bright periods from the Hungarian capital history, because it contains the largest and most important archaeological sites in the city.