Firdos Square

Firdos Square (Arabic: ساحة الفردوس‎, translit. Sāḥat al-Firdaus) is a public open space in central Baghdad, Iraq. It is named after the Persian word Firdows, which means "paradise". The site has been the location of several monumental artworks.

Firdos Square
City square
Section of Firdos Square in foreground, with Ramadan Mosque behind.
Section of Firdos Square in foreground, with Ramadan Mosque behind.
LocationAl-Sadoon Street and Abu-Nuw'as Street, Al-Rusafa quarter
Baghdad, Iraq
Coordinates: 33°18′52.68″N 44°25′14.43″E / 33.3146333°N 44.4206750°ECoordinates: 33°18′52.68″N 44°25′14.43″E / 33.3146333°N 44.4206750°E


The 17 Ramadan Mosque and two of the best-known hotels in Baghdad, the Palestine Hotel and the Sheraton Ishtar, are located on the square.

The roundabout in the center of Firdos Square has been the site of several monuments beginning with the completion of the monumental arch The Unknown Soldier in 1959. It was subsequently replaced by the statue of Saddam Hussein that was removed by U.S. coalition forces during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. A green, abstract sculpture by Bassem Hamad al-Dawiri was commissioned to replace the Saddam statue. In 2009, the architect of the Monument to the Unknown Soldier Rifat Chadirji expressed interest in rebuilding the monument on its original site.[1] As of 2013, the al-Dawiri statue and the surrounding columns have been removed from Firdos Square.[2]

Statue destruction

The famous toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Firdos Square in Baghdad shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003

In April 2002, a 12-metre (39 ft) statue, designed by Iraqi sculptor, Khalid Ezzat, was erected in honour of Saddam Hussein's 65th birthday.[3]

In 2003, the statue was pulled down by Iraqi citizens, with the help of American forces during the invasion of Iraq in front of a crowd of around a hundred Iraqis. The event was widely televised, and some of this footage was criticized for exaggerating the size of the crowd.[4] Robert Fisk described it as "the most staged photo opportunity since Iwo Jima".[5]

Replacement statue

The site of statue now houses a green, abstract sculpture intended to symbolize "freedom", designed by sculptor Bassem Hamad al-Dawiri[6] and built by a group of artists calling themselves, Najin (The Survivors).[7] The replacement sculpture was constructed quickly and completed within months of its predecessor's removal. Of necessity, the statue makes use of basic construction materials and methods. It is made of painted plaster, seven metres (23 feet) in height and includes a symbolic Iraqi family holding aloft a crescent moon, which represents Islam and the sun representing the ancient Sumerian civilization.[8]

2005 protest

On April 9, 2005, the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the square was the center of a large-scale demonstration from tens of thousands of Iraqis protesting the American occupation. The demonstration was organized by Moqtada Sadr, a Shi'ite cleric, and supported by Sheikh Abd al-Zahra al-Suwaid a follower of the Green Party. Suwaid was quoted as stating to the gathered "The rally must be peaceful. You should demand the withdrawal of the occupation forces and press for quicker trials for Saddam Hussein and his aides before an Iraqi court."

See also


  1. ^ "Famed Iraqi architect rebuilds Baghdad landmark"
  2. ^ AP Photo/Hadi Mizban "Yahoo! In this Sunday, April 7, 2013 photo, a general view of Firdous Square, where the statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down by U.S. forces and Iraqis on April 9, 2003, in central Baghdad, Iraq. Ten years ago, a statue fell in Paradise Square. Joyful Iraqis helped by a U.S. Army tank retriever pulled down their longtime dictator, cast as 16 feet of bronze. The scene broadcast live worldwide became an icon for a war, a symbol of final victory over Saddam Hussein. But for the people of Baghdad, it was only the beginning. The toppling of the statue on April 9, 2003, remains a potent symbol that has divided Iraqis ever since."
  3. ^ Lucas, Dean (2007). "Famous Pictures Magazine - Fall of Saddam Hussein's Statue". Famous Pictures Magazine. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
  4. ^ "Doctored Photo from the London Evening Standard", The Memory Hole, May 13, 2003
  5. ^ "Lights, camera, rescue", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 30, 2003
  6. ^ "Radical cleric urges protest at square where Saddam's statue was toppled". St Louis Post Dispatch. April 10, 2005. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
  7. ^ "New Statue Replaces Saddam", BBC News, 30 May, 2003,Online:
  8. ^ "New Statue Replaces Saddam", BBC News, 30 May, 2003,Online:
1st Tank Battalion

The 1st Tank Battalion is an armor battalion of the United States Marine Corps which is based out of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California. It falls under the command of the 1st Marine Division and I Marine Expeditionary Force.

3rd Battalion, 4th Marines

3rd Battalion, 4th Marines (3/4) is an infantry battalion of the United States Marine Corps. Nicknamed "Thundering Third". The most recent leader Lt. Col. Birchfield III, J. W. radio callsign is "Darkside". They are based at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, and consist of approximately 1,000 Marines. The unit currently falls under the command of the 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, but — along with its two sister battalions — is hosted by the 3rd Marine Division, at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan, when training in jungle warfare. The 3rd falls under the 4th Marine Regiment at such times.

Al-Rusafa, Iraq

Al Rusafa (Arabic: الرصافة) or Rasafa a district in of Baghdad, Iraq, on the eastern side of the river Tigris. The west side of the river is Al Karkh. It is one of the old quarters of Baghdad, situated in the heart of the city and his home to a number of public squares housing important monumental artworks.


Baghdad (; Arabic: بغداد‎ [baɣˈdaːd] (listen)) is the capital of Iraq. The population of Baghdad, as of 2016, is approximately 8,765,000, making it the largest city in Iraq, the second largest city in the Arab world (after Cairo, Egypt), and the second largest city in Western Asia (after Tehran, Iran).

Located along the Tigris River, the city was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Within a short time of its inception, Baghdad evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center for the Islamic world. This, in addition to housing several key academic institutions (e.g., House of Wisdom), garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the "Centre of Learning".

Baghdad was the largest city of the Middle Ages for much of the Abbasid era, peaking at a population of more than a million. It was during this time that Baghdad became the centre of the scientific world and many renown first-time discoveries and developments were made in various fields of philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, medicine, mechanics, astrology, optics, as well as a spectrum of subjects in the arts and humanities. Although the height of Baghdad's intellectual scholarship and discoveries was during the Islamic Golden Age, and under use of the Arabic language, it involved not only Arabs, but also Persians, Syriacs, Nestorians, Arab Christians, and people from other ethnic and religious groups native to the region. These were fundamental elements that contributed directly to the flourishing of scholarship in the Arab world. The city was largely destroyed at the hands of the Mongol Empire in 1258, resulting in a decline that would linger through many centuries due to frequent plagues and multiple successive empires. With the recognition of Iraq as an independent state (formerly the British Mandate of Mesopotamia) in 1938, Baghdad gradually regained some of its former prominence as a significant center of Arab culture.

In contemporary times, the city has often faced severe infrastructural damage, most recently due to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the subsequent Iraq War that lasted until December 2011. In recent years, the city has been frequently subjected to insurgency attacks. The war had resulted in a substantial loss of cultural heritage and historical artifacts as well. As of 2018, Baghdad was listed as one of the least hospitable places in the world to live, ranked by Mercer as the worst of 231 major cities as measured by quality-of-life. In 2013, Baghdad was inaugurated as the Arab Capital of Culture, and in 2018 it was awarded the Capital of Arab Media.

Bassem Hamad al-Dawiri

Bassem Hamad al-Dawiri (died September 19, 2007) was an Iraqi sculptor and artist. He helped create a Baghdad artist association, called the "Survivors' Group" following the fall of the Saddam Hussein government in 2003.

Battle of Baghdad (2003)

The Battle of Baghdad, also known as the Fall of Baghdad, was a military invasion of Baghdad that took place in early April 2003, as part of the invasion of Iraq.

Three weeks into the invasion of Iraq, Coalition Forces Land Component Command elements, led by the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division moved into Baghdad.

The United States declared victory on April 14, and President George W. Bush gave his Mission Accomplished Speech on May 1.

Baghdad suffered serious damage to its civilian infrastructure, economy, and cultural inheritance from the fighting, as well as looting and arson.

During the invasion, the Al-Yarmouk Hospital in south Baghdad saw a steady rate of about 100 new patients an hour.Several thousand Iraqi soldiers as well as a small number of coalition forces were killed in the battle.

After the fall of Baghdad, Coalition forces entered the city of Kirkuk on April 10 and Tikrit on April 15, 2003.

Cristal Grand Ishtar Hotel

The Cristal Grand Ishtar Hotel is a hotel in Baghdad, Iraq located on Firdos Square. At 99 meters tall, it is the tallest building in Baghdad and the tallest structure in Iraq after the Baghdad Tower.

Opened in 1982 as the Ishtar Sheraton Hotel & Casino (Arabic,فندق شيراتون عشتار), it was one of the most popular Western-run hotels in Baghdad until the Gulf War began in 1991, when Sheraton Hotels severed their management contract with the Iraqi Government, which built the property. The hotel continued to use the Sheraton name without permission for the following 22 years.While the hotel was briefly popular with foreign journalists and contractors after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, its occupancy level soon dropped sharply. The hotel, an obvious and imposing target, was periodically hit with mortar or rocket fire during the early years of the post-Saddam era. The structure was seriously damaged during a bomb attack in October 2005 and was closed for more than a year afterward. Thirty-seven were killed in a car bomb attack outside of the hotel on January 25, 2010.

This hotel was renovated in 2011 along with five other of the biggest hotels in Baghdad in preparation campaign for Arab summit. Renovation was done by a Turkish Company and have improved the interior and leisure facilities. The hotel was renamed Cristal Grand Ishtar Hotel in March 2013.During Arab summit in 2012 many officials from different countries accommodated in this hotel along with press and journalists.

Now many of conferences and workshops, internally or internationally, are organized in this hotel.

Firdos Square statue destruction

The destruction of the Firdos Square statue was an event in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that marked the symbolic end of the Battle of Baghdad. The event took place on April 9, 2003.


Iconoclasm is the social belief in the importance of the destruction of icons and other images or monuments, most frequently for religious or political reasons. People who engage in or support iconoclasm are called iconoclasts, a term that has come to be applied figuratively to any individual who challenges "cherished beliefs or venerated institutions on the grounds that they are erroneous or pernicious".Conversely, one who reveres or venerates religious images is called (by iconoclasts) an iconolater; in a Byzantine context, such a person is called an iconodule or iconophile.

The term does not generally encompass the specific destruction of images of a ruler after his death or overthrow (damnatio memoriae).

Iconoclasm may be carried out by people of a different religion, but is often the result of sectarian disputes between factions of the same religion. Within Christianity, iconoclasm has generally been motivated by those who adopt a literal interpretation of the Ten Commandments, which forbid the making and worshipping of "graven images or any likeness of anything". The later Church Fathers identified Jews, fundamental iconoclasts, with heresy and saw deviations from orthodox Christianity and opposition to the veneration of images as heresies that were essentially "Jewish in spirit". The degree of iconoclasm among Christian branches greatly varies. Islam, in general, tends to be more iconoclastic than Christianity, with Sunni Islam being more iconoclastic than Shia Islam.

Ishaqi incident

The Ishaqi incident refers to the reported mass murder of Iraqi civilians allegedly committed by United States forces in the town of Ishaqi in March 2006. After the incident, Iraqi police accused the US troops of rounding up and deliberately shooting 11 people, including five children and four women, before blowing up their house. A US military spokesman at the time responded that it was "highly unlikely that [the allegations] were true". US authorities said they were involved in a firefight after a tip-off that an al-Qaeda cell leader, Ahmad Abdallah Muhammad Na'is al-Utaybi, was visiting the house. According to the Americans, the building collapsed under heavy fire, killing four people—a suspect, two women and a child.The incident immediately raised questions by U.N. investigators as revealed by diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

In June 2006 the US indicated they were re-investigating the incident, after the BBC obtained a tape from "a hardline Sunni group" that appeared to contain evidence supporting the allegations of the Iraqi police. The investigation found, on June 2, 2006 that US military personnel had followed the proper procedures and rules of engagement, and that they had done nothing wrong. The Iraqi government immediately rejected the results of the US probe, stating they would continue their own investigation.

Kadhem Sharif

Kadhem Sharif al-Jabouri is an Iraqi wrestler and weightlifter. He is most famous for attempting to use a sledgehammer to bring down the statue of Saddam Hussein at the Firdos Square in Baghdad.

Media coverage of the Iraq War

The 2003 invasion of Iraq involved unprecedented U.S. media coverage, especially cable news networks. The coverage itself became a source of controversy, as media outlets were accused of pro-war bias, reporters were casualties of both Iraqi and American gunfire, and claims of censorship and propaganda became widespread.

Mission Accomplished speech

The Mission Accomplished speech (named for a banner displayed above the speaker) was a televised address by United States President George W. Bush on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003. The name became central in the controversy that followed.

Although Bush stated at the time "Our mission continues" and "We have difficult work to do in Iraq," he also stated that it was the end to major combat operations in Iraq. Bush never uttered the phrase "Mission Accomplished"; a banner stating "Mission Accomplished" was used as a backdrop to the speech. Bush's assertion—and the sign itself—became controversial after guerrilla warfare in Iraq increased during the Iraqi insurgency. The vast majority of casualties, both military and civilian, occurred after the speech.

Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre

The Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre (Arabic: مجزرة حفلة عرس مقر الديب‎) refers to the U.S. shooting and bombing of a wedding party in Mukaradeeb, a small village in Iraq near the border with Syria, on 19 May 2004. 42 civilians were killed.

Nick Popaditch

Nicholas Allen Popaditch (born July 2, 1967) is a medically retired United States Marine Corps gunnery sergeant who gained fame as the "Cigar Marine", recipient of the Silver Star and Purple Heart. He ran unsuccessfully as the 2010 Republican candidate for California's 51st congressional district, losing to incumbent Democrat Bob Filner. He ran again in 2012 in the 53rd congressional district, losing to incumbent Democrat Susan Davis.

Palestine Hotel

The Palestine Hotel (Arabic: فندق فلسطين), often referred to simply as The Palestine, is an 18-story hotel in Baghdad, Iraq located on Firdos Square, across from the Sheraton Ishtar. It has long been favoured by journalists and media personnel. The hotel overlooks the Tigris on its eastern bank and is located several hundred metres south of the Baghdad Hotel.

The hotel was built in 1982 by the Iraqi government and managed by the French hotelier Le Méridien as the Palestine Meridien Hotel. UN-imposed sanctions following the Gulf War led Le Méridien to dissociate itself from the hotel, which was subsequently renamed simply the Palestine Hotel. Starting with the 1991 Gulf War and continuing through the 2003 invasion of Iraq, this was one of several hotels foreign media used to cover situations that developed in Iraq.

Paradise Square (disambiguation)

Paradise Square is a Georgian square in the City of Sheffield. It may also refer to:

Firdos Square in Baghdad

Paradise Square in Five Points, Manhattan

a song by Charles Burnham (musician)

a song in Made in Sheffield (album)

The Monument to the Unknown Soldier

The Monument to the Unknown Soldier (Arabic: نصب الجندي المجهول‎) is a monument in central Baghdad built by Italian architect, Marcello D'Olivo, based on a concept by Iraqi sculptor, Khaled al-Rahal, and constructed between 1979 and 1982. It was dedicated to the martyrs of the Iran–Iraq War. In 1986 the national square of Iraq, Great Celebrations square, was built near the monument, and two other monuments were built close to the square in memory of the matyrs. In 1983, the Al-Shaheed Monument on the River, was opened and in 1989 the newly built Victory Arch became the entrances to the square. The Unknown Soldier's Monument represents a traditional shield (dira¹a) dropping from the dying grasp of an Iraqi warrior. The monument also houses an underground museum.

Timeline of Baghdad

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Baghdad, Iraq.

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