Iraq / Cities and Towns /
City in Iraq with 990,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate). Situated in southern Iraq on the Shatt al-Arab waterway, near the narrow Iraqian entry to the Persian Gulf, between Kuwait and Iran. Capital of the Basra province. The economic base of Basra is refining and exporting of oil and chemicals, as well as being the centre of an agricultural area that produces wool, grain and dates.
Traditional mansion in Basra, Iraq. Photo: Iraqi State Antiquities Authority.
Traditional houses along the Shatt al-Arab.
For centuries Basra has been a very important centre for science and culture.
636: Founded by Caliph Umar for military purposes.
14th century: Heavy destruction inflicted by the Mongols. Basra is rebuilt, this time more than 10 km up the river.
1914: Modern harbour begins to be constructed.
1980-86: Heavy destruction from the Iran-Iraq War.
1991: New round of heavy destruction, from the united forces during the Gulf War.
2003 March: During the US/British-Iraq War, Basra comes under British attack. The attack is launched mainly on military and government strongholds, not on sites inside the city.